April 03, 2011

Orfeo Bartolucci, Mappamondo della pace/Globe of peace

With it's diameter of ten meters the Mappamondo della pace for some six years, from around 1988 untill 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, at the age of around sixty, in 1982 he began constructing this globe It is situated on the top of a hill near where he lived on a plot of land owned by his familiy. 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 and saw a large globe in one of its museums which inspired him to construct one himself. 

picture from the apecchio.net website
(no more availale)

In his region Bartolucci is seen and admired as a an artist and his construction for sure is a rather 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 video's, the basis of the construction is made of reinforced concrete. The innerside 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. 

* Pictures on Panoramio, here and here


  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.