The master's course allows you to acquire specific analytical skills to read and critically evaluate the sources relating to travel from a geographical point of view. Understand strengths, limitations and defects of the sources used and usable by Geography in order to reconstruct the environmental, social and cultural frameworks of the past. Understand and enhance the cultural context in which the odeporic sources were created and the importance of the biographies of their authors. Draw information from these sources, even if not explicitly provided, and organize the geographic data as a function of a cognitive question, a goal (scientific, practical).
teacher profile | teaching materials



Travel’s reports of the past are a preferred source for the construction of geographical thought and culture. Particularly between the late Middle Ages and Modern Age, travel’s relations allows to retrace the complex process of widening of Europeans’ geographical horizon. In western society the relationship between geography and travel’s reports has changed over the centuries, to the need to sort and reprocess the information gathered, to create a geographical knowledge built on valid rules, correlations between phenomena and rational criteria for classification. During the course will be analyzed practices of travel, travelers and travel’s reports, in their various types. Will also be considered some examples of travel’s reports that, throughout history, have marked the collective imagination and the construction of the world’s modern image. Testimony of travel’s experiences, travel literature has become ever more an instrument of knowledge of the territory and of human communities, through understanding the other and the elsewhere, but also the culture that looks at the other and at the space, for as this was and still is organized on the basis of many human needs (exploration, knowledge, tourism, etc.).

Core Documentation

The exam program will be valid from the 2023 summer session.
Not attending
- Guglielmo Scaramellini, La geografia dei viaggiatori. Raffigurazioni individuali e immagini collettive nei resoconti di viaggio, Milano, Unicopli, 1993 o 1998, solo la Parte seconda, pp. 55-111.
- Ilaria Luzzana Caraci, Dall’esperienza del viaggio al sapere geografico, in Geotema, n° 8 (1997), Il viaggio come fonte di conoscenze geografiche, pp. 3-12 (https://uniroma3.sharepoint.com/:b:/r/sites/AA2223-GEOGRAFIAELETTERATURADELVIAGGIO-20710063DASCENZO2/Documenti%20condivisi/General/Caraci%20Dall%27esperienza%20del%20viaggio%20al%20sapere%20geografico%20OCR.pdf?csf=1&web=1&e=mpg1f1).
- Annalisa D'Ascenzo, Annalisa D'Ascenzo, Il viaggio prima del viaggio. Credenze, miti e desideri dalle esperienze odeporiche terrestri a quelle extraterrestri, in Annalisa D'Ascenzo (a cura di), I viaggi e la modernità. Dalle grandi esplorazioni geografiche ai mondi extraterrestri, Roma, CISGE – Centro Italiano per gli Studi Storico-Geografici, 2021, https://www.cisge.it/ojs/index.php/Volumi/article/view/1092.

Materials provided during the lessons.

Type of delivery of the course

As for all master's degree courses, attendance is mandatory. During the lessons are studied in depth the theories and critical elements useful for understanding how, over time, we have passed from travel literature to geographic knowledge. Different types of travelers, odeporiche sources and scientific works are analyzed.


Attendance is compulsory

Type of evaluation

The exam is written, for everyone. Open questions, on figures, themes or nodal events for the history of geography and exploration. Questions on the theories and methods of analysis of travel literature, on the types of sources that can be used for research, on the historical, cultural and social contexts in which the data contained in the odeporic sources are transformed into geographical knowledge.