Pietro Della Valle


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(1586–1652). Roman who dedicated much of his life to travelling, after an early career as poet, musician, and opera scenery designer. He recounted his twelve-year voyage to the East in his Viaggi, in the form of fifty-four letters addressed to the Neapolitan humanist and doctor Mario Schipano. Published from 1650 to 1663, the letters contain precious documentation, not only on customs but also on important archaeological matters. Della Valle brought considerable learning to his work. He also wrote a grammar of Turkish in seven books. After returning from his travels, he took up his earlier career as composer and librettist, writing a theoretical work, Della musica dell'età nostra (1640), against the excessive and word-obscuring polyphony of earlier music, and in favour of the new fashion for instrumental solos. In his endless search for knowledge, his restless quest for experience, and his modernism, Della Valle is an exemplary figure of his age [see Querelle Des Anciens Et Des Modernes].

From The Oxford Companion to Italian Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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