Balbi's Itinerario

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Gasparo Balbi was born in Venice sometime around 1550.  By the 1570s, he was an active member of Venice's gem trading community.  From 1579-1590 Balbi traveled throughout the Mediterranean, Middle East, India and Asia in search of raw gemstones to send back to Venice to be cut, polished and sold to an avid European clientele.  In the course of his travels, he visited Nicosia, the capital of the Venetian colony on the island of Cyprus, then Aleppo, Damascus, Babylon and Basrah. In the Persian Gulf he booked passage to Goa, a Portuguese trade center located on the Western coast of the Indian subcontinent.  He then traveled to visit the Elephanta Caves - situated in the city now known as Mumbai, and then made his way along the coast - stopping in Chaul - before sailing to Sri Lanka.  After a brief stay at Fort Colombo, he arrived in the Kingdom of Kingdom of Pegu(Myanmar).