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Le Venezie. Cultura e Territorio

The Masi Foundation has published its own bilingual (Italian and English) journal since 2005. This is the house-organ of the Foundation and records its life and activities as well as containing cultural and artistic information about the region, about Venetian personalities and about the ever-interesting worlds of wine and local gastronomy. 

Below the editorial of the magazine, number 57.


Seven hundred years ago, on 9th January 1324, three years after the younger Dante Alighieri, Messer Marco Polo died in Venice. He was not the first westerner to reach China, nor was he the greatest medieval traveller: just a few decades later the indefatigable Muslim writer Ibn Battuta would travel the length and breadth of the globe, three times his distances.

We do not therefore remember him today, in Italy and elsewhere, for his record-breaking achievements; we remember him for something much more important and significant, namely for having been the first to open up the mindset of the West, giving narrative form to the Orient and thus to ‘the Other’ by definition. It could even be argued that before him the Christian West had not yet become fully aware of being a West, different and in many ways antagonistic to the East.

Marco Polo was first and foremost a Venetian, therefore a merchant and as such an inquisitive person, who noted down everything he saw. For a Christian of his time, he was also singularly open to the faiths of others. It was profit together with curiosity and the thirst for adventure that was his motivation, but, unlike so many other travellers, explorers and western colonisers of the centuries to come, he was not interested in robbery, oppression or the subjugation of lands and peoples. For all this, as well as for our thirst for knowledge, and at such a distance in time, we still feel today that Marco Polo is one of us, a free spirit on an adventure in an immense and unexplored world.

Marco Vigevani

Fondazione MasiMasi Investor Club