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title SUMMARY /title

Vitaliano Donati, physician and naturalist, born in Padua in 1717, around the mid-eighteenth century played a significant role among the leading Italian philosophers, performing in Italy and in the Balkans some important naturalistic research that set the basis for the geographical map, the new theory of Carl Linn.

In 1751, King Charles Emmanuel of Savoy called him to the chair of Botany in Turin University. During the permanence of Vitaliano Donati in the Kingdom of Sardinia he continued his important activities in botany, mineralogy and geology and made relevant observations about climate, earthquakes, and mining-sites in Piedmont always having the aim of increasing the knowledge of local resources and their potential for exploitation.

In 1759 the king entrusted Vitaliano Donati with the direction of a scientific and commercial mission in Egypt and in the East Indies. This voyage had a double purpose: to collect samples for a Museum and for the Botany Garden, and to observe in those countries the processes of mineral extraction, of agricultural cultivation and of livestock breeding. The travel started in Venice in June 1759, and among critical events and diplomatic plots, continued to the Middle East and Egypt, from where it continued until wriving at the Indian Ocean. But this adventure ended in February 1762 when Donati died on a Turkish boat not far away the Indian coast near Mangalore. This article, which trace the complete transcription of the correspondence concerning the voyage, also reports the text of the "instructive memory", issued by the king to Vitaliano Donati, and summarises the scientific and political scopes of this unfortunate enterprise.

Affiliations: 1: Soprintendenza Archeologica del Piemonte - Torino


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