Russi in Liguria, in “Slavia”, III, 1995, pp.187-208.

Under Peter the Great’s Empire, at the beginning of the 18th century, the greater and greater impulses towards the knowledge of the Western cultural achievements were at the origin of an increasing interest in Italy by the exponents of the Russian nobility. During their journeys, these noblemen used to note down their impressions and thoughts, so that the witnesses left are several. Their favourite stops were usually the big cities, in particular Venice, Rome, Florence , Milan and Genoa. On an unknown traveller’s journal dating back to 1697, we read this description of Genoa: “Genoa is a large seaside city, but its port is not big. When we arrived, there were twenty ships, they were always ready, eight of them with thirty-two oars, with Turkish sailors, Arabian prisoners and local people under punishment. The Prince is elected in Genoa by the senators for two years. The city is of elegant construction and rather inhabited. The senators and their wives are taken on sedans by two men each, and some of them ride donkeys…The Prince’s garden is on the sea-shore; there are very big fountains; three horses, on them a man; from the tongue of the central horse water flows while from the other two water flows from their nostrils; all around the horses,  marble young children drinking are engraved” . At the beginning of the 18th century, the Russian people going to Italy were mostly noblemen, diplomats or ambassadors. The work “Scienza e letteratura ai tempi di Pietro il Grande” by  historian Pekarskij reports the diary of one member of the well known noble Naryskin  family, of Petersbourg origin, who had been in close relationship with the most important families in Genoa: “In Genoa, on 21 February 1714 we went to Prince Doria’s ball and we stayed there until one after midnight; there my brother danced and I did not, because he did not like me to. On  Tuesday evening 22, at seven, we went with Vasilij Michalovic to a ball organized by some young people and we stayed there until midnight…”.

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