Vincenzo Fasolo, "The Campo Marzio of G. B. Piranesi".
the Ichnographia as "theme park"
...the notion of the Ichnographia being used (perhaps for the first time) as a "guide map." Using the Ichnographia as a guide would seem ridiculous to most because the large plan has always been dismissed as a pure fantasy. It can act as a guide, however, especially if one is aware of the textual background of the plan, meaning the historical texts which describe ancient Rome.
...looking at the Ichnographia as an ancient Roman theme park--a virtual place where one can vicariously experience the ancient city as well as learn about the history of the city.
The themes Piranesi uses are numerous:
a. the Imperial genealogy of both the Bustum Augusti and the Bustum Hadriani.
b. the forward and backward "ride" of the Triumphal Way.
c. the military themes along the Equiria.
d. the numerous garden designs
e. the nemus Caesarum.
The whole typological catalogue is nothing but one variation on a theme after another.
insights regarding the Campo Marzio Busti
...ideas regarding the Bustum Hadriani and the Bustum Caesaris Augusti. ...Piranesi treated them as opposites of each other.
...the radiation triangular clitoporticus of the Bustum Hadriani--a porticus dedicated to the evocation of the gods and the spirits of the lower world. Such a porticus fits perfectly on the axis of death, ...the meaning of the Bustum is burning place and there is the slab for the burning bodies and the funeral-pyre. The design of the clitoporticus directs all focus upon the place of burning, and it is easy to imagine the wailing that would emanate from this place--it is interesting to match the raising of wailing voices from the clitoporticus with the raising of smoke from the cavea bustum. The whole Bustum Hadriani is exceedingly morbid, and, ironically, it seems that the burning of the dead within the Bustum Hadriani is treated as a spectator sport, especially with the grandstands of the cavae bustum.
...in the Bustum Augusti there is the exact opposite wording--the joyful recollection of Augustus. ...all the other contrasts between the Bustum Hadriani and the Bustum Augusti:
...the Clitoporticus ab Hadriano funnels inward; the Nemus Caesarum fans outward.
...the Hadrian precinct is square, the Augustus precinct is round.
...the Bustum Hadriani is a depression; the Bustun Caesaris Augusti is raised on a hill.
...the center of the Bustum Hadriani is fire; the center of the Bustum Caesaris Augusti is water.
...the Bustum Hadriani is surrounded by a canal (moat); the Bustum Caesaris Augusti is surrounded by a wall.
...the Bustum Hadriani, with its circuses, is open to all; the Bustum Caesaris Augusti, with its iron gates, is closed.
...the Bustum Hadriani has some degree of archeological veracity; the Bustum Caesaris Augusti is full of blatant misplacements.
...Bustum Caesaris Augusti represents the "rise" of Rome, and the Bustum Hadriani represents the "fall" of Rome, ...another inversion derived from a whole set of inversions. The notion of "rise" can also be seen in the phallic porticus of the Bustum Caesaris Augusti.