Fra Niccolò di Poggibonsi (14th century)
Libro d'Oltremare, 1346-1350
A Friar Minor from Tuscany, Niccolò di Poggibonsi undertook a voyage to the Middle East between 1346 and 1350. His travels brought him into contact with the day-to-day situation in the region, thus allowing us today to see these lands through the eyes of a fourteenth-century man. In his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which is recounted in his Libro d’Oltremare, he visited the Galilee region, including Capernaum which he describes as a place in ruins that was no longer occupied:
“From the above-mentioned place [Cana] one proceeds to the town of Capernaum, which is six miles distant, and the road is nearly flat. After a half mile, on the left, there is a field: and here Christ gave us the parable, as we can read in the Gospels, of the man who sowed good seed in his field, and then, later, weeds appeared. And this can be seen nearby in the town of Capernaum, where Christ performed many miracles, just as Christ had prophesied to them, saying: woe to you Capernaum, etc. And it is indeed full of woe, having fallen almost completely into ruin, and abandoned; it is located at the horn of the Sea of Galilee; and the Sea of Tiberias, the pool of Gennesaret, is 29 miles distant. In that same town of Capernaum is the house of the Centurion, where Christ healed his servant, and also the son of the little ruler.”
Libro d’Oltremare I, p 279.