Marco Polo Biography

(Italian Explorer, Venetian Merchant and Adventurer Who Traveled from Europe to Asia Between 1271 and 1295)

Born: 1254

Born In: Venice, Italy

One among the first Europeans to set foot on China, Marco Polo was the 13th century explorer, who as a teenager travelled along with his father and uncle to meet Emperor Kublai Khan in China. He spent several years in China, where he worked in the court of Kublai Khan, who was so impressed with Polo that he made him the ruler of one of his cities. He served in many high positions under the Chinese emperor, some of which include: serving as his representative, ambassador and governor of one of his provinces. When he returned home, after 24 years, he had gathered immense wealth, jewels and treasures and also brought to Venice fascinating tales about the Chinese way of life. Authored by Rustichello da Pisa, the book ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’ is a detailed account of all his travel expeditions and experiences in China with Emperor Kublai Khan. After the publication of this book, he became a famous personality in Venice and inspired many others to travel, including Christopher Columbus. To learn more interesting facts about his childhood, personal life and interesting accounts about his travel expeditions and experiences, scroll down and continue to read the biography of Marco Polo.

Quick Facts

Died At Age: 70


Spouse/Ex-: Donata Badoer

father: Niccolò Polo

mother: Nicole Anna Defuseh

children: Bellela Polo, Fantina Polo, Moretta Polo

Born Country: Italy

Quotes By Marco Polo Writers

Died on: January 8, 1324

place of death: Venice, Italy

City: Venice, Italy

  • 1

    Where did Marco Polo travel to during his expeditions?

    Marco Polo traveled to various places during his expeditions, including China, Persia, and India.
  • 2

    What was the purpose of Marco Polo's travels?

    Marco Polo's travels were primarily for trade and exploration, aiming to establish new trading routes and strengthen diplomatic relations.
  • 3

    What is Marco Polo famous for?

    Marco Polo is famous for his extensive travels and the detailed accounts he provided in his book "The Travels of Marco Polo," which introduced Europeans to Central Asia and China.
  • 4

    How did Marco Polo's travels impact European exploration?

    Marco Polo's travels inspired other explorers and traders to follow in his footsteps, leading to increased interest in exploring and trading with the East.
  • 5

    What challenges did Marco Polo face during his journeys?

    Marco Polo faced numerous challenges during his journeys, including harsh weather conditions, dangerous terrain, and encounters with hostile tribes and bandits.
Childhood & Early Life
Marco Polo was born to Nicole Anna Defuseh and Niccolò Polo, a merchant who was on a trading expedition at the time of his birth. It is generally believed by the historians that he was born in Venice, Italy
In 1260, while his father and Uncle Maffeo Polo were trading in Constantinople, his mother passed way and he lived with his aunt and uncle. He soon became well versed with merchant trading.
In 1271, he along with his father, Niccolò Polo and uncle, Maffeo Polo commenced expedition to Asia. They travelled through Persia and Tartary.
Continue Reading Below
Recommended Lists:
Later Life
In 1274, after travelling for three years, they reached Cathay, Northern China. His father and uncle met Kublai Khan there and greeted him with papal letters, and they were appointed in the king’s court.
In 1275, he was chosen to be the official representative of Emperor Kublai Khan and joined the king on various missions, for which he travelled extensively all over China.
In the 1280s, he travelled to many parts of the Asian continent and he was subsequently appointed as the governor of one of the Kublai Khan’s cities.
In 1292, Kublai Khan got his daughter, Princess Cocachin married. Polo travelled along with the wedding party to Persia in a ship and they stopped in Borneo, Sumatra and Ceylon, among other places.
In 1295, after the death of Kublai Khan the previous year, 24 years after he had set on a voyage to China, he returned to Venice with a vast collection of fine jewels, riches and treasures.
On October 9, 1298, the Battle of Curzola between Venice and Genoa commenced and during this time he was captured and imprisoned for several months.
During his time in jail, he shared accounts of his travel experiences and expeditions with fellow inmate, Rustichello da Pisa, who later authored the book ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’.
In August 1299, he was released from prison, after which he travelled to his home in Venice, where his family had settled in a big bungalow.
He settled down in Venice and went on to become one of the affluent merchants in the city, who granted loans to other travellers who wished to go out on expeditions.
Continue Reading Below
In 1300, the book ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’ was released; the book becomes an instant bestseller and made him one of the most famous figures in Venice.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1300, he wedded Donata Badoer, who was the daughter of Vitale Badoer, a prosperous merchant. The couple had three daughters together, Fantina, Bellela and Moreta.
By 1323, he became very sick and bedridden and the following year he died at the age of 70 in Venice. He was laid to rest at the San Lorenzo di Venezia church.
Published in 1972, the book ‘Invisible cities’, written by Italo Calvino was based on the cities Marco Polo claimed to have visited and also his experiences in China.
The airport of Venice is named the Venice Marco Polo Airport, in his honour.
Facts About Marco Polo
Marco Polo was one of the first Europeans to travel to China and document his experiences, providing valuable insights into the culture and society of the time.
He was known for his keen observations and detailed accounts of the places he visited, which helped to broaden European understanding of the world beyond their borders.
Marco Polo was a skilled linguist, fluent in multiple languages, which enabled him to communicate effectively with the people he encountered during his travels.
He was an avid collector of stories and artifacts from his travels, which he later shared with others, contributing to a greater appreciation of different cultures and traditions.
Marco Polo's adventures inspired future generations of explorers and travelers, leaving a lasting impact on the world of exploration and discovery.

See the events in life of Marco Polo in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Marco Polo Biography
- Editors,

People Also Viewed

Dante Alighieri Biography
Dante Alighieri
Giada De Laurentiis Biography
Giada De Laurentiis
(American, Italian)
Giacomo Casanova Biography
Giacomo Casanova
Ludovico Ariosto Biography
Ludovico Ariosto
Michelangelo Biography
Umberto Eco Biography
Umberto Eco