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Professor Sandro Sticca

Italian sailor's diary receives translation

Sandro Sticca, professor of French and comparative literature, is translating a 19th-century diary of an Italian sailor for the New York State Library and Historical Society.

Discovered while Sticca conducted research in a Renaissance mansion of Baron Michele Filomusi Guelfi, the diary and navigational log was kept by Achille Capuano, a 25-year-old sailor who spent three years (1844–1846) as a lieutenant in the King of Naples’ navy aboard the frigate Urania and visited the major ports of Europe and of the two Americas. Although the sailor spent only a few weeks of his three-year trip in the United States, more than a third of the diary’s 136 pages is devoted to his impressions of New York state.

The diary offers descriptions of New York City and Albany, its museums, and then villages from Albany to Utica, Rome, Oswego, Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The book is also accompanied by a wealth of historical notations about such people as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and the birth of the colonies.

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Last Updated: 9/27/13