Giuseppe Zocchi was a key painter and printmaker in eighteenth century Florence. At an early age he was taken under the protection of the Marchese Andrea Gerini (1691-1766), an intellectual and patron of the arts from a noble family which had been settled in Florence since the fourteenth century. Gerini sent the talented young artist to study the work of his contemporaries in Rome, Bologna, Milan and especially Venice, where he remained for almost two years before returning to Florence around 1741. Zocchi then almost immediately undertook an extensive project for the Marchese, who had commissioned him to produce two series of etched views of Florence and its environs intended for visitors as mementos of their time in the city. Zocchi’s reputation was such that he became known as the ‘Canaletto of Florence.’
These two charming views, which were engraved by Fabio Berardi, show Castello di Rota near Bracciano, some sixty miles from Rome. The site was settled in pre-Roman times, and has been under the control of the Church and important Roman families since the Medieval Era. It has belonged to the Lepri family since the eighteenth century, and although the use of the buildings have changed in subsequent centuries, the structures remain as Zocchi shows them here.