We got to anchor under the Pharos, or watch-tower, built on a high rock at the mouth of the Mole 1 of Genoa2, the weather being still so foul that for two hours at least we durst not stand into the haven.

The Mole and Lanterna of Genoa, Detail from “Genova (Genoa)” by Braun and Hogenberg from Civitates Orbis Terrarum. 1572

Toward evening we adventured, and came on shore by the Prattique-house 3, where, after strict examination by the Syndics, we were had to the Ducal Palace, and there our names being taken, we were conducted to our inn, kept by one Zacharias4 has was , an Englishman. I shall never forget a story of our host Zachary, who, on the relation of our peril, told us another of his own, being shipwrecked, as he affirmed solemnly, in the middle of a great sea somewhere in the West Indies, that he swam no less than twenty-two leagues 5 to another island, with a tinderbox wrapped up in his hair, which was not so much as wet all the way; that picking up the carpenter’s tools with other provisions in a chest, he and the carpenter, who accompanied him (good swimmers it seems both), floated the chest before them; and, arriving at last in a place full of wood, they built another vessel, and so escaped! After this story, we no more talked of our danger; Zachary put us quite down.

“Genoa: A Sea View of the Lazaretto” from John Howard’s 1789 book “An Account of the Principal Lazarettos in Europe.”

  1. “A mole is a massive structure, usually of stone, used as a pier, breakwater, or a causeway between places separated by water” – Wikipedia, GS 

  2. “ At first it was onely a little Fort for to help to bridle Genua, and it was built by Lewis the XII. of France ” (Lassels, Voyage of Italy, 1670, i. p. 84). 

  3. In this case, quarantine clearance or “prattique” was provided by the Lazaretto or Plague house in Genoa -GS 

  4. Possibly Simon Zacarias – a ship’s pilot of this name was shipwrecked off Swan islands (Honduras) in 1610 or 1611.  He apparently also built a ship from the remains of the shipwreck to make his escape (Source) -GS 

  5. A unit of distance that is variable as it is based on the distance one can walk in an hour i.e., between three and six miles.  -AD