Sixth Book on Architecture: On Habitations in and outside the Cities


The rediscovery in 1414 of the manuscript of De architectura libri decem (The ten books on architecture) by Vitruvius (circa 80–15 BC), the only treatise on architecture handed down from antiquity, caused a revolution in Renaissance architectural thought. One of the most important architects of the period, known both for his theoretical writings and the buildings he designed, was Sebastiano Serlio (1475–1554) of Bologna. Serlio’s seven books on architecture had a decisive influence on the evolution of the architecture of Venetian villas and palaces. Serlio’s influence previously was ascribed to the more illustrious Andrea Palladio, but it has since been confirmed by scholars. Serlio’s sixth book on architecture, Delle habitationi fuori e dentro delle città (On Habitations in and outside the Cities), deals with houses and villas suitable for all different ranks of people. The work contains elegantly and clearly drawn models on costly parchment, complemented by Serlio’s very lively and personal explications. This manuscript, in the artist’s own hand, is particularly precious. It is dedicated to King Henry II of France (1519–59; reigned 1547–59), and dates from the artist’s last years in Lyon. For financial reasons, Serlio decided, even before the manuscript went into print, to sell it to Jacopo Strada, an Italian merchant, who passed it on to the ducal library in Munich where it has remained ever since.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Lyon, France


Title in Original Language

Sesto libro d'architettura. Delle habitationi fuori e dentro delle città


Type of Item

Physical Description

79 sheets, parchment : illustrations ; 44.8-85.5 x 31-32.5 centimeters


  • BSB Shelfmark Cod.icon. 189

Last updated: October 18, 2012