Do you want to learn about the Italian historical protagonists who have been of fundamental importance to art and culture in Italy? Well this is precisely the article you were looking for as here I will present the figure of the Italian writer Marco Polo. Here I will tell you the story and the great importance of one of the most known and appreciated Italian travelers. I will also tell you about his publications and in particular about his most famous work, namely the Million. This allowed him to be universally recognized as one of the most important Italian writers.
Here is the story of one of the most significant figures for art and culture in Italy
Marco Polo was born in Venice in September 1254. The son of a rich merchant named Nicolò he received a good education and was trained in mercantile subjects. In the summer of 1271 he left with his father and uncle on his first trip to China where he remained for 25 years. In 1275 they reached Qubilai, where Marco received the task of carrying out inspections in the territories of Tibet and Yun-nan from the emperor. At the end of the assignment he was appointed the title of Messer by the emperor, becoming his informant and ambassador throughout the empire.
But that’s not all, in 1278 he was appointed governor of Hang-chou. He finally returned home in 1295 after a voyage that lasted three years. Shortly after, during one of the many naval battles between Venetians and Genoese in the eastern Mediterranean, one of the most important Italian historical protagonists was taken prisoner.
In the period of time between 1298 and 1299, while he was held prisoner in the jail of Genoa, he dictated the account of his trip to the East to his cellmate Rustichello da Pisa. The book was written in a French-Italian definable language under the name of Le Divisament du Monde. The writing soon became known as Milione from the nickname of the same Polo family. In 1299 peace was established between the two peoples and Marco returned to Venice. Until his death in 1324 he dealt with trade and promoting his book.
The work basically consists of the account of the journey that Marco made with his father and uncle to the East. But it is not only this: in fact it is a real encyclopedia that contains within it all the knowledge of the era concerning Asia. It is a historical treatise as well as a simple travel report. The first draft, as previously mentioned, took place in the Genoa prison at the hands of Rustichello da Pisa, a little-known writer of that time.
The Million, has represented much more than just a book for travelers and had a great impact well after its publication. Its incredible descriptions inspired Christopher Columbus in his travels. Throughout his life he was convinced he had reached the Indies and the Catai described by Polo in his manuscript. Furthermore, the information contained in the text regarding the geography of the Far East contributed to the compilation of the map created by Fra Mauro. In more recent years it has been taken as a reference point by one of the best known Italian writers, Italo Calvino. This happened in his 1972 work, entitled The Invisible Cities.
After all, as you can see, there are many reasons for interest around he, who is one the most significant Italian historical protagonists. If the article was of interest to you I also recommend reading this one dedicated to Botticelli. Now what are you waiting for? Run to read The Million by Marco Polo, one of the most important Italian writers and travelers!