In his new book, the latest installment in a more general history of travel, Attilio Brilli addresses a specific category of travelers: merchants. Merchants, in fact, with expeditions lasting years and at times even decades, in a quest for unknown countries, opened up routes towards the Orient during the Middle Ages. They explored China, India, and the outer limits of Asia in the search of valuable merchandise, trading posts, and new markets. Their memoirs and reports, starting with Marco Polo's accounts of his travels, are unique documents, featuring a wealth of vicissitudes, practical observations, and magnificent tales. Even when trade routes later preferred the sea, circumnavigating Africa and then the world, merchants continued to play a major role, ready to face any destination and any adventure.
Attilio Brilli used to teach English and American Literature at the Arezzo campus of the University of Siena.