Previous Exhibitions

Hopeful Travellers - Italian Explorers, Missionaries, Merchants, and Adventurers from the Middle Ages to Modern Times

Tue, Jan. 30, 2007 to Fri, Apr. 27, 2007

Image from Hopeful Travellers exhibition

This exhibition is about travellers, and the exhibits are for the most part accounts of their travels. There are few restrictions: the journeys will be to anywhere in the world, at any time from the thirteenth to the twentieth centuries. Some of the books and maps were published as recently as this century, others were first printed in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The travellers’ tales were most often written down by the travellers themselves, or perhaps dictated to amanuenses, soon after their return. Not all are truthful, though most claim to be. One restriction is self-evident: for the journeys to have been recorded at all they must have been at least partly successful. The second restriction is more interesting: each of the explorers and cartographers is Italian, and they are all men — for the cultures of the times, even into the twentieth century, excluded Italian women from such ventures. But these were Italians who, though living at the centre of the Mediterranean region, with opportunities for trade, profit, and God’s work close by on every side, chose to cross the deserts, the oceans, and the mountains. Suffice to say that they did, and the world was changed, and they were rewarded.

ISBN 0772760616, 152 pages, $20.00 | Ref. #7039