The Italian Almanac

Ferdinand Magellan

The Pigafetta Project

Italian scientists will be aboard the sailboat Adriatic to conduct climate research for the ''Pigafetta 500'' project to retrace the route of the world's first circumnavigation, organized in the 1500s by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. The project honours Veneto native, the aristocrat and scholar Antonio Pigafetta, who was among the 18 survivors of Magellan's original crew of 240 to return - Magellan himself died in a battle in the Philippines. Pigafetta had been Magellan's assistant, and documented the entire voyage in a journal. He wrote an internationally acclaimed account of the voyage called ''Report on the First Voyage around the World''.

The voyagers will embark from the Marine Science Institute in Venice with researchers from Italian National Research Centre (CNR), who will take measurements of indicators like water salinity and temperature all along the route in order to better map and study the evolution of the climate.

The circumnavigation organized by Magellan began from Seville, Spain, and lasted 1519-1522. The Pigafetta 500 is expected to last from September 2013 to April 2015, making 40 stops in 20 countries, five continents and crossing three oceans. The adventure-science trip is underwritten by the Veneto Region and UNESCO for the ''International Year of Water Cooperation''.