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Navigational Routes on the Middle and Southern Adriatic in Giuseppe Rosaccio’s Viaggio

Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Publication Date
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Political Science


Viaggio da Venetia a Constantinopoli is the work of the Italian XVIth and XVIIth century writer, humanist and cartographer Giuseppe Rosaccio in which is described the navigational route from Venice to Istanbul. The work went through a number of editions of which the most famous are those from 1598 and from 1606. The book does not restrict itself to describing those parts of the eastern Adriatic littoral which belong to today’s political-territorial or the former ethnic Croatian space but describes also the part of the coast from Boka Kotorska to Valona and the exit from the Adriatic Sea. For this paper the most important parts of the Viaggio are those immediately devoted to the description of the navigational route. However, the article also brings under scrutiny those facts which relate to other aspects (economic, historical, travel-related and others) as well as the accompanying cartographic inscription of navigational points which enable us to view the question of the navigational routes along the eastern coast of the middle and southern Adriatic in the Viaggio in a satisfying fashion. Despite the economic advantages of shipping and the development of navigational tools in the XVth and the XVIth centuries, the long journey by ship along the eastern Adriatic continued to stay close to the shore primarily as a safeguard against storms at sea and the choice of ports of entry depended on the purpose and the ultimate destination of the voyage. From Venice ships would after having passed Zadar continue towards Šibenik following the shoreline. Depending on the state of relations between the Turks and Venice the ship would, if necessary, sail up to Skradin. Trogir and Split were the next more important ports. The voyage from Split could be continued following the shore or more frequently it made its way among the middle Adriatic islands of Šolta, Brač, Vis and further on to Korčula and Dubrovnik – the most important maritime destination on the Adriatic after Venice itself. The most important transversal navigational route over the Adriatic also went through the said middle Adriatic islands, by way of Palagruža and the Tremiti islands to the western Adriatic shore. Kotor was an unavoidable port of call for Venetian ships. After the bay of Boka Kotorska and Budva the navigational route continued along the shore controlled by the Turks, by the port of Ulcinj, Drač and Valona to the point of leaving the Adriatic. Viewed as a whole, the importance and significance of points on the route determined, not only from the navigational but also from the economic and the cultural aspects, different layouts within the main navigational routes along the shores of the eastern Adriatic.

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