“Detourism: La newsletter di Venezia”, the official Town of Venice Tourism Office Newsletter, takes us to discover all traces of Marco Polo in Venice! Enjoy your reading!
Seven centuries after Marco Polo’s death, in January 1324, you can still take a walk around Venice looking for traces of the legendary merchant and explorer who travelled to China along the Silk Road.
- Not far from the Church of San Giovanni Grisostomo and from Rialto, where there is now the Malibran Theatre, once stood the thirteenth-century house of the Polo family, which burned down in the late sixteenth century. The theatre was later inaugurated in 1678. During its restoration (in 1998), archaeologists found many important objects belonged to the Polo family, that testify that the house was erected exactly under the walls of the Malibran. A small portion of the houses in this ancient area of Venice has been preserved as it was at the time of Marco Polo, and you can see it passing under the arches that lead into the Corte seconda del Milion, a courtyard that take its name from Polo’s travel book, Il Milione, one of the world’s first bestsellers. In the English-speaking world, the book is often known as the Travels of Marco Polo. On the rear facade of the Malibran, a plaque recalls that “Here were the houses of Marco Polo who traveled to the most distant regions of Asia and described them”.
- The Marciana National Library, in Piazzetta San Marco, holds the testament of the world-famous explorer, a manuscript on sheep parchment dated 1323, according to the calendar then in force in the Serenissima Republic (i.e. 1324). But among the most precious memorabilia of the Library there is also the famous Map of the World created by the Camaldolese monk Fra Mauro around 1450. Considered the greatest medieval map in the world, the Fra Mauro features over 3,000 inscriptions drawn from the voyaging and discoveries of Marco Polo.
- Unfortunately, we don’t have any faithful portrait of Marco Polo. However, among the ancient, rare and precious finds of the Correr Museum collections there is a Chinese-made wooden sculpture, a nineteenth-century copy of the statue of the famous Venetian traveller revered in the Temple of the sixteenth century Gods of Canton, China.
- A nineteenth-century bust of Marco Polo can be admired in the atrium of Palazzo Loredan, nowadays Institute of Science, Literature and Arts, which houses the Veneto Pantheon, a bust collection including the most important characters of Venice, from ancient times to the eighteenth century.
[source: La newsletter di Venezia, n. 05/2020 del 31.01.2020]
[picture: Wolfgang Moroder, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons]
We are proud to publish some selected contents of such newsletter (see previous post: “Detourism for the Up and Down the Bridges“). On our website, in several episodes, we will only present some samples (see all posts in our archive page “Detourism Newsletter“), but the invitation addressed to all the friends of the Up and Down the Bridges is to subscribe to the newsletter directly.
Special thanks to the Councillor for Tourism for having enthusiastically welcomed this new important collaboration between TGS Eurogroup and the Tourism Office of the Town of Venice and for giving us the precious opportunity to publish on the pages of this blog some extracts from this newsletter, both in Italian and in English.
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