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Will Vespuccci get his monument in New York City?
by Tiziano Dossena
Sep 01, 2012 
L'Idea issue dedicated to Vespucci.
L'Idea issue dedicated to Vespucci.
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When few days ago a reader had asked me why L’Idea, a Brooklyn magazine, had dedicated a cover to Amerigo Vespucci, I realized how misunderstood and underestimated his historical importance was and still is; 500 years have passed from his death and he still is very little known by the masses of this city.

The man who ultimately gave his name to this continent, was the first one to recognize that Brazil and the West Indies, the places he had visited just a few years after Columbus’ first landing in Hispaniola, belonged to a new land mass and not to Asia. He also invented a rudimentary, but reasonably accurate method of determining longitude, and his letters describing his voyages (although a few experts dispute their authenticity), some of which were published in the early years of the 1500’s, brought the news for the first time about the newly discovered Americas to the European public.

Then, why is he ignored? Another Florentine like him, Giovanni da Verrazzano, was also overlooked for a long time, but eventually found his proper place in history, being recognized and acknowledged by New Yorkers with the naming of the marvelous bridge that unites Brooklyn to Staten Island. It took a lot of hard work, though, before the recognition of Verrazzano came through. Will it take a citizens’ movement comparable to the ones from the ‘50s and 60’s to achieve the suitable and deserved recognition by New Yorkers for this legendary Italian explorer?

The Italian community of New York City is celebrating Vespucci in their Italian Heritage Month, next October, and that is a wonderful occurrence. Will this allow the birth of a committee to officially dedicate some kind of monument to Vespucci? I really hope so: the time has come for the name of Amerigo Vespucci to be part of our New York City landmarks.
 
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