Azerbaijan in the account of the trip to the East by Felice De Vecchi (1841-1842)

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The article aims to illustrate how Azerbaijan appeared in the eyes of an Italian who, in the first half of the nineteenth century, had the opportunity to visit it during a trip to Constantinople. Between 1841 and 1842, Felice De Vecchi, a wealthy Milanese passionate about painting and travel, embarked on a journey, together with his naturalist friend Gaetano Osculati, to Constantinople and then, through Persia, visited India. He kept a diary of that journey, only recently found in its almost totality, dedicating an entire chapter to Azerbaijan, the “land of fires”. From his account, rich in anthropological and pictorial notations, emerges a very well-defined sketch that does not hide the wonder of those who meet housing situations and customs far from their country of origin. In order not to lose the most emotional component contained in De Vecchi’s writing, the frequent quotations of passages from the diary are presented in the English translation, followed by the original text in nineteenth-century Italian.

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  • Bitto A. (2013) Felice De Vecchi: uno sguardo dimenticato sull’oriente. Miscellanea di storia delle esplorazioni XXXVIII 2013 pp. 107-151

  • Brilli A. (2009). Il viaggio in Oriente Il Mulino Bologna.

  • De Vecchi F. (2016). Giornale di carovana. Brano di un viaggio nell’Armenia Persia Arabia e Indostan fatto negli anni 1841-42 Luni Editrice Milano (two volumes).

  • Osculati G. (1844). Note di un viaggio nella Persia ed Indie Orientali negli anni 1841-1842 Tipografia Luca Corbetta Monza.

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