April 03, 2011

Orfeo Bartolucci, Mappamondo della pace/Globe of peace

picture courtesy of e.kappey (former Panoramio)

With it's diameter of ten meters the Mappamondo della pace for some six years, from around 1988 until 1994, was the world's biggest globe. 

Then it was surpassed by Eartha, a revolving globe situated in the United States, designed and constructed by a professional team.

Life and works

The Mappamondo della pace however is a creation of just one man, who made it with his own hands: Orfeo Bartolucci (1924-2011), who lived in the community of Colombara, Apecchio in Italy. 

Trained as mason, later working as a building contractor, in 1982 at the age of around sixty he began constructing this globe which is situated on the top of a hill near where he lived, on a plot of land owned by his family. Working in secret, it took Bartolucci some six years to make the construction, which was completed in 1988.

The story is that Bartolucci in 1970 visited Venice, saw a large globe in one of its museums and felt  inspired to construct one himself. 

picture from the apecchio.net website
(not available anymore)

In his region Bartolucci is seen and admired as a an artist and his construction for sure is a very special  singular architecture. However, Bartolucci also felt motivated to show the world that becoming older does not mean one has to stay idle. And, last but not least, he also had the aim to make the world's largest globe.

Judging by the available videos, the basis of the construction is made of reinforced concrete. The inner side of the globe has a beautifully constructed wooden framework. The outside is kind of fiberglass.

From the community a some 1000 meters long path leads upwards to the site where the globe is situated amidst other items which have a decorative and informative function, such as a big clock, decorative pillars and panels with informative texts.

I couldn't trace reports about the way the parts of the world have been painted on the surface of the globe, but in my opinion this is a creative achievement in itself.

There is a lot of room inside the sphere. It's interior houses expositions of Bartolucci's collections of music instruments and all kinds of tools that were used in former times..

The globe was inaugurated in 1988 in the presence of thousands of spectators.

A hanging bridge

In 2007, when Bartolucci was at age 84, he showed once more that someone of old age doesn't have to be idle, by constructing a large hanging bridge with steel cables and wooden planks, leading to the top of the hill where the globe is situated.

Actual situation

Bartolucci died in January 2011. In November 2010 the authorities closed the site for safety reasons, awaiting a structural inspection. As far as I understand, in any case the exterior can be visited. 

More pictures and documentation
FB page Il mitico Mappamondo di Colombara in Apecchio
* Article on weblog Journal of a southern bookreader, July 12, 2012 (in english), with a translation into English of a 1999 Italian news item by Italian pipe manufacturers Centraltubi
* Article in website Costruttori di Babele
* More pictures on Francesco Galli's website

* Video (trailer) coming with a  publication by Alessandra Mosca Proietti (and Adriano Roberti, photos), Il Mappamondo piu' grande del mondo, Melegnano (Montedit), 2009

* Video (April 2019) by Costruttori di Babele (YouTube, 10' 03"), with scenes of the opening of the Globe.

Orfeo Bartolucci
Mappamondo della pace
Colombara, Apecchio, Marche, Italy
exterior can be visited


  1. I think his was quite an admirable ambition, fueled by passion and perseverence, with a remarkable result.

    Hoping the Springtime finds you well, Henk, and I have not the slightest doubt that your list of projects to cover in these pages remains long. Looking forward to more to come.

  2. For sure, Owen, he was a man with a passion. It has been reported that, with regard to this project, he described himself as a passionated man.
    And yes, I enjoy this spring, wonderful, promissing time! I hope you are doing well.

  3. Very good Henk! I will send you soon a lot of information about Italian environments
    friendly, gabriele

  4. Thanks Gabriele. I am looking forward to more information on Italian environments. Many greetings! Henk

    Everyone who might read his comment___take a look at Gabriel´s website www.costruttoridibabele.net It has a lot of information and wonderful pictures!

  5. thank you for mentioning the book that Alessandra and I have created with the collaboration of Orfeo Bartolucci.
    This page is dedicated to the book:


    thank you very much
    Adriano Roberti

  6. @ Adriano.
    Thanks for the comment. My pleasure to mention the book. I inserted a link to the book in the documentary section.
    It must have been a wonderful project to document the Mappomondo together with mr Bartolucci.