VARTHEMA, Ludovico di. Bologna 1470? — 1517?. Italian Traveller in India in the beginning of the 16th century. Claiming to have started his travels only in order to win fame he left Italy late in 1502 and travelled on the route Venice–Cairo–Beyrout–Damas–Mecca (the first known non-Muslim there), using Muslim robe, then by ship to Aden, where he was emprisoned as a Christian spy. Escaping to North-East Africa he sailed to Diu, and after visiting Ormuz and Herat to Cambay. Then sailed to Mangalore, visited Vijayanagar, and again by ship Calicut–Quilon–Ceylon–Pulicat–Negapatam–Tarnasseri–Banghella–Pegu–Malacca–Sumatra–Borneo. Returning to India he became factor in Cochin and returned to Europe around Cape in a Portuguese ship in 1507. Knighted in Lisbon.
Unlike some other travellers LV gave a personal narrative of his experiences. His books includes a good descriptions of Cambay and especially of Calicut and gives a good opinion of the Hindus and their morality.
Publications: Itinerario de Ludouico de Varthema Bolognese. Rome 1510, translated into Latin (name as Vertomannus) and 5 modern languages (English in Purchas, then Hakluyt Soc. 32. 1863; Italian in Ramusio), e.g. The Itinerary of Ludovico di Varthema of Bologna from 1502 to 1508 as tr. from the original Italian edition of 1510 by John Winter Jones in 1863, with a discourse … by R. C. Temple. 85+121 p. L. 1928
Sources: Oaten, 63–66; Wikipedia.