THE NINETEENTH CENTURY IN ODESSA: One Hundred Years of Italian Culture on the Shores of the Black Sea (1794-1894)

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This new study, drawing its inspiration from A History of Odessa, the Last Italian Black Sea Colony (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2004) and based on new archival findings, focuses solely on the eternal cultural legacy of the Italian founders of this unique port, shaped by nearly a century of Italian presence. The work reveals how Odessa Italians constructed a cultural bridge between Eastern and Western Europe via Odessa Italian Opera. The work demonstrates how the exploration of the New Russia by the Odessa Italians helped the Russian Empire to make a leap into modernity, giving them a touch of the Renaissance that the country had skipped, and bringing the Enlightenment that the Empire had seen briefly. This new contribution to European cultural history will be of interest to scholars of European, Italian, Russian and Ukrainian history, art historians and musicologists, as well as students of migration and multiculturalism. This book contains 10 color photographs and 20 black and white photographs.


“Makolkin’s volume on the Italians in Odessa is an erudite travelogue on art, architecture, music, and culture, drawn from the great cities of Italy and transplanted to Russia. Relying on the new sources, Dr. Anna Makolkin reveals an encyclopaedic knowledge of European, Italian and Russian literature, art, architecture, music, medicine, psychology, and history. With great dexterity does she weave together these various threads into a smooth and thrilling story. This volume will fascinate the reader with the unfolding of a powerful new drama in Russian, Italian, and European history.” - Terence J. Fay S.J., Professor of Church History, Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto

“In seven compact chapters of the present volume, the members of the small Italian colony are portrayed for their substantial achievements in the various fields of visual arts, architecture, opera, music and literature. By all accounts, it becomes evident that the Italian factor left an indelible mark on the city from its onset, when it was created by the Great Empress Catherine and entrusted by her to the governorship of the Neapolitan born Admiral Giuseppe De Ribas, on May 27, 1794.” - Dr. Maddalena Kuitunen, Professor Emeritus, Department of Italian Studies, University of Toronto

“With this book ... Anna Makolkin continues to explore the hundred years of Italian experience (1794-1894), in the Russian, now Ukrainian, city of Odessa on the Black Sea. She succeeds in rescuing from oblivion a rich Italian cultural tradition, which has till now been ignored, or, at best, marginalized as not important. In fact, Makolkin’s new book proves that Italian were the major protagonists in all aspects of Odessa’s economic, political, cultural and artistic life in the first hundred years of that city’s existence.” - Dr. Angelo Principe, Professor Emeritus of Italian Studies, University of Toronto, Erindale Campus

Table of Contents

Foreword by Terence Fay
Notes on Italian Spelling and Transliteration
Note on Translation
List of Abbreviations
List of Photographs
1 Instant City, Leap through the Ages
2 Transplanting he Visual Arts of Italy
3 Travelling Artefacts and Artists
4 Shaping Odessa as a Russian Cultural Mecca
5 Disseminating Knowledge, Diffusing Culture
6 Cultural Anachronism
7 Italian Colony Adjusting to Modernity Conclusions
List of Archival Sources
Libraries Used

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