Marco Polo is also credited with introducing sorbet, of all things, to Europe.
Do not be under any illusions when you visit Marco Polo’s house, near the church of San Giovanni Grisostomo. It is not a museum, nor can you look inside. There is just a simple plaque above a restaurant which states that this is where he once lived. For many visitors who have been spoiled by the fabulous visual extravaganza that the rest of the city has to offer, it can come as a disappointment. But if you take a moment to consider the enormous historical significance of this place, and the contribution made to the world by the man who once lived within these four walls, it is hard not to feel a certain sense of awe.
The Journey of all Journeys
In all its long and illustrious history, the city of Venice has probably never produced a more famous or important son than Marco Polo. Born in 1254, he embarked on his famous epic journey at the age of just 17, and would not return to his home city for another 24 years. During this time, he travelled an astonishing 15,000 miles, meeting the famous Kublai Khan and producing the first detailed chronicle of a European voyage to China. His writings were tremendously influential in the fields of cartography and exploration, helping to produce the famous Fra Mauro Map and inspiring Christopher Columbus to set out on his voyage to the Americas. Marco Polo is often named as the greatest explorer of all time.
Even if the history does not interest you, the house is worth visiting simply for the journey there. It can be difficult to find, but you will be led down pretty alleys and across small bridges – an experience in itself.
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