Romanist archaeologist and art histoiran; known for his studies of the topography and monuments of the city of Rome. Lanciani hailed from ancient noble family. His father, Pietro Lanciani, was an engineer and his brother-in-law, Comte Virginio Vespignani (1808-1882) was an architect and draftsman for archeological books. After attending the (Jesuit) Collegio Romano and a period training as an engineer at the University of Rome, he joined an excavating project around Trajan's harbor, in the ancient city of Ostia (Lazio), at the mouth of the Tiber River. The event changed his life forever.