Who was Pietro Querini?

Who was Pietro Querini? Venetian Patrician in the 15th century of powerful Querini family and therefore a member by right of Serenissima’s Great Council. He was Lord, on the Island of Candia (Crete), the fiefs of Castel di Termini and Dfnes, famous for the production of Malvasia Wine, wich he traded especially with Fiandre.

Bound for Bruges in Flanders in 1431, his merchant ship encountered a terrible storm off the western coast of France. The storm ravaged the ship, and the sailors had to go in the lifeboats. They fought the storm and cold for weeks. Many men drowned or died of starvation and fatigue when, left to their own fates, they drifted on the Gulf Stream far across the North Sea.

Just after the new year, in January 1432, the survivors stranded on an island amid the skerries near Røst in Lofoten. Only eleven men, of a crew that totaled 68, made it. They were found by local fishermen, after nearly a month, and eventually spent more than three months together with the Røst inhabitants.

This dramatic incident was the origin of trade between Northern Norway and Italian states, that made possible – among other beneficial outcomes – the introduction of Norwegian stockfish in Italian cooking.

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