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Marco Polo, 700 years later


But who was Marco Polo really?

2024 marks a dual anniversary for Venice: the 770th anniversary of the birth of the explorer Marco Polo and the 700th anniversary of his death. Within the walls of Venetian homes, this name has echoed constantly since time immemorial. But who was Marco Polo really?


Born into a family of wealthy merchants, he became accustomed to traveling far from a young age, spending much time in China and at the Mongol court, on behalf of the Great Khan. In 1925, he finished as prisoner to the enemy during one of the many battles between Genoese and Venetians that raged in the Mediterranean Sea at that time. It was from the prisons that he wrote his travel account, Le Divisament du Monde, soon known by the famous title Il Milione, from the nickname of the entire Polo bloodline, Emilione.


The Venetian not only described a good part of Asia plausibly, but also played the role of the supreme representative and interpreter of international trade exchanges of his homeland. The fame of the Most Serene Republic as the commercial capital of the West was therefore strongly influenced by this eclectic figure and his charisma.


It was therefore natural for the city of Venice to celebrate Marco Polo and his intricate itinerary through an exhibition, which will be open to the public starting from April 6th. The doors of the Doge’s Palace will open to the municipality to present a varied collection of objects associated with the most renowned European explorer. They will not only belong to the collection of the Civic Museums Foundation of Venice, but will also come from other museum collections in Europe, Asia, and overseas.
All the information regarding the exhibition The Worlds of Marco Polo: The Journey of a 13th Century Venetian Merchant, including schedules and tickets, can be found here.


Between January and June and from October to December, Circuito Cinema will narrate the famous Silk Road at the Casa del Cinema, through a wide selection of films that will accompany viewers in the discovery of the places and stories surrounding the figure of Marco Polo. A film associated with each land he explored will be selected, focusing all attention on the theme of travel between different cultures, whose borders are seen only as simple lines to cross. All relevant information can be found here.


Spring brings with it a special edition of the event Biblioteca che vai, storia che trovi dedicated to Marco Polo. The municipal libraries of Venice will offer a wide range of events, workshops, and adventures, in collaboration with associations such as Didatticando and Passacinese, to introduce visitors of all ages to the figure of the famous Venetian merchant and ambassador, who introduced the West to the wonders of the East through his book Il Milione. The booklet containing all the information can be viewed and downloaded here.

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