Rustichello da Pisa

Rustichello da Pisa (fl. late 13th century) was an Italian romance writer best known for cowriting Marco Polo's autobiography while they were in prison together in Genoa. He had been captured by the Genoese at the Battle of Meloria in 1284, amid a conflict between the Republic of Genoa and his native Pisa. When Polo was imprisoned around 1298 after a clash between Genoa and Venice (according to tradition the Battle of Curzola), he dictated his tales of travel to Rustichello, and together they turned it into the book known as The Travels of Marco Polo.

Earlier, Rustichello had written a work in French known as the Roman de Roi Artus (Romance of King Arthur) or simply the Compilation, derived from a book in the possession of Edward I of England, who passed through Italy on his way to fight in the Eighth Crusade in 1272, and at whose court Rustichello served for many years. The Compilation contains an interpolation of the Romance of Palamedes, a now-fragmentary prose account of Arthur's Saracen knight Palamedes and the history of the Round Table. It was later divided into two sections, named after their principal protagonists, Meliadus (Tristan's father) and Guiron le Courtois; these remained popular for hundreds of years, and influenced works written in French as well as in Spanish, Italian, and even Greek.

In 1993, author Neil Gaiman wrote issue 39 of the acclaimed The Sandman comic book series titled Soft Places, which focused exclusively on the characters Rustichello da Pisa and Marco Polo. It is set in the year 1273 during Polo's crossing of the Desert of Lop. It is available in Volume 6, Fables and Reflections.



  • Lacy, Norris J. (1991). The New Arthurian Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 1991. ISBN 0-8240-4377-4.
  • Polo, Marco; Latham, Ronald (translator) (1958). The Travels of Marco Polo. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0140440577

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