Andrea di Robilant
Early life and education
Di Robilant was born in Rome, Italy and was educated at Institut Le Rosey and at Columbia University, where he earned his BA in History in 1979 from Columbia College and his MA in International Relations from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University in 1980.
He is the eldest of three sons of Count Alvise Nicolis di Robilant e Cereaglio, of Piedmontese and Venetian ancestry, and American Elizabeth, née Stokes. His father, a descendant of Italian statesman and diplomat Carlo Felice Nicolis, conte di Robilant, was managing director of Sotheby's in Italy; he was found murdered in his apartment in the Palazzo Rucellai in Florence in 1997, aged 72. The murder remains unsolved.
His great-great-great-great grandmother, Lucia Memmo, maried Alvise Mocenigo, a member of the House of Mocenigo that played a pivotal role in Venice's history. In 1818, Lucia rented the piano nobile of Palazzo Mocenigo to Lord Byron, who wrote parts of Don Juan at the family mansion, and hosted illustrious figures such as François-René de Chateaubriand and Effie Ruskin throughout her life.Lucia's father, Andrea Memmo, was the Venetian ambassador to the Papal States and a prominent citizen of the Republic of Venice.Both of di Robilant's ancestors became subjects of his books.
After he finished school, he was hired as a reporter for the New Jersey-based Italian American newspaper, Il Progresso Italo-Americano.He later joined La Repubblica as a U.S. correspondent, covering the Ronald Reagan presidency,the Central American crisis, and the Falklands War.He then traveled to South America and covered local affairs for a number of publications and was The Dallas Morning News's Latin American correspondent in Buenos Aires, where he covered the end of military regimes in South America.
He returned to Italy in 1987 to start a monthly city magazine in Milan named "02" but the magazine folded only after a year, which made him return to journalism. He joined La Stampa and became its diplomatic correspondent and in 1996, he became the paper's bureau chief in Washington, D.C., where he covered Bill Clinton's second term in office.
In 2003, di Robilant wrote his first book A Venetian Affair, a biography of his ancestor, Andrea Memmo, in 18th century Venice based on his correspondence with Giustiniana Wynne found in the Palazzo Mocenigo; and a sequel entitled Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon (2008) based on Andrea's daughter, Lucia Mocenigo.He subsequently left La Stampa to pursue a full-time writing career.
In 2011, he published Irresistible North: From Venice to Greenland on the Trail of the Zen Brothers, in which he analyses the claim that two Venetian merchants, the Zeno brothers, sailed over the north Atlantic in a pre-Columbian expedition to North America.His new book, Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and His Last Muse was published in 2018.
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- Wheeler, Sara (2011-06-03). "Who Really Discovered America?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
- Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and His Last Muse.
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- "Creative Writing Institute Faculty | University in Rome". www.johncabot.edu. Retrieved 2020-07-29.