Over the years, the reputation of Christopher Columbus had diminished depending on the politics of the day. Columbus was not a saintly man. In fact, he was denied beatification by the Catholic Church because he lived with an unmarried woman, had a child out of wedlock, and kidnapped hundreds of indigenous people that he sold in Europe. But there is no other explorer in history who has had a profound impact on the shape of the modern world.
Columbus ventured beyond the Pillars of Hercules, a mythological name given to the Rock of Gibraltar. In his time, that was the end of the know world. To sail beyond that point was to venture into the unknown. Born in 1451, in the port city of Genovo, he had several careers as a weaver, a merchant seaman, and a map maker. For a decade, he continually attempted to persuade the Monarchs of Portugal and Spain to support his expedition beyond the Pillar of Hercules. Again, and again, he was denied. Finally, in 1492, he convinced King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to sponsor his venture and the rest is history. On October 12, the day that we celebrate Columbus Day, he landed in the Bahamas on the island of San Salvador. On his return to Spain, he was declared the "admiral of the open sea". In all, Columbus made 4 voyages across the Atlantic discovering new lands and expanding our knowledge of the planet. Ironically, he died in 1506, never knowing that the lands he found were not part of Asia, but a whole new world.
Although he remains a controversial figure to this day, Italians are very proud of the persistence and vision of the Genovese sailor with a dream who truly transformed the world!!
Italo Marchiony died in 1954 at the age of 86. Another Italian hero!!