Marco Polo 700
Marco Polo 700
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When we think of Venice, we think of water and its maritime might, but its most famous citizen went by land. It was in the year 1271 that the young Marco Polo set off for China to accompany his father on a commercial expedition. Plagued by bad weather, war and disease, the long journey east along the "Silk Road" took more than three years. However, Marco Polo remained in the Far East for 25 years, a period during which the Venetian won the Chinese emperor's confidence as his advisor and was given high office.

Born in Venice in 1254 to a family of merchants, Marco Polo has become one of the most famous figures in the history of the Serenissima Republic, thanks to his "extraordinary exploits", which lie somewhere between reality and myth. Not only for his long journey and the years he spent in the Levant (East), especially in China, but also for the account he left of his experiences. The book is known as "Il Millione" and is in fact considered to be the first reliable and complete account of the Orient and the first contribution to the mutual understanding between Asia and Europe. It describes not only China and the Asian continent, but also, for the first time, the vast insular world stretching from Japan to Madagascar.

Marco's journey begins in Venice with his father and uncle. They travel through Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan and the Gobi Desert. In 1275, the three travellers reach Katai, the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, in northern China. Khan Kublai, the Mongol emperor who ruled China at the time, considered Marco to be a brilliant young man who spoke many languages and appointed him to run the administration in various parts of the empire.

Marco Polo's travelogue: Description of the World

Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo

In 1295, after living in China for seventeen years and travelling for another six or seven, Marco returned to Venice at the age of about 40. Shortly afterwards, he participated in a naval battle between Venetians and Genoese, and was captured. While in captivity, he dictated his memoirs to his cellmate Rustichello of Pisa, and the result was Il Millione, with the English title Description of the World, a masterpiece of travel literature and one of the first geographical encyclopaedia. A historical and geographical treatise, a book of discovery, still considered a pillar of Italian literary culture because of its importance. Because there are so many interesting things that scholars have not yet discovered, Marco Polo's Il Millione has come a long way and will continue to do so.

marco polo

To Marco Polo, the Venetian traveller par excellence, the famous hero of the Serenissima Republic, the City of Venice will dedicate a year of events to mark the 700th anniversary of his death on 8 January 1324, writing a never-ending story full of adventure and emotion. The City Council has prepared a program of events to mark the highlights of Marco Polo's life.

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Exhibition Palazzo Mocenigo in celebration of the Marco Polo Year 2024

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