S.A.R. Lugi Amedeo di Savoia – Aosta – Duke of Abruzzi
Known as the “Duke of the Abruzzi” was born in Madrid in 1873 where his father was King of Spain for some years, while his uncle was King of Italy. With a great passion for the mountain, very young climbed the Mont Blanc (the Giant’s Tooth) and later the Mount St. Elias in Alaska. Between the two ascensions, made the first circumnavigation of the globe at the age of 21.
In 1899 on board a whaling ship renamed “Stella Polare”, sailed to reach the North Pole. The plan was to sail to Franz Josef Land and reach the northernmost island of the archipelago, Prince Rudolf, and then from there, using the sled dogs travel all the way to the 90th parallel. The expedition, as usual for the Duke, was prepared with great care and a wealth of material. Not only, some expert Norwegians, like Captain Evenson with a great skill of navigation in the ice, were asked to join the Italian expedition.
The Stella Polare reached Prince Rudolph Island and anchored in the Bay of Teplitz at 82 ° 4 ‘N. It was the fourth ship able to reach this latitude and the first sailing along the coast.
The expedition spent the winter there at the base camp. On February 19, formed three groups, traveled to the North Pole. One party never returned to the base, another was miraculously able to return while the one led by Umberto Cagni, reached the highest latitude ever reached until then 86 ° 34 ‘N, but not the Pole. The Duke was unable to join this final attempt due to frost bite, he had few fingers amputated.
The expeditions not only reached the northernmost latitude, the scientific and topographic material reported were a great achievement as well.
The “Duke” returned to his country and prepared a new expedition, this time to Africa, to the Mount Ruwenzori. In 1906 he was the first able to climb this 5,109 meters high mountain. Then was the time of an expedition in the Karakorum with the intention of climbing the K2, he reached 6,640 meters of altitude and can’t go further. But still managed to beat the record of climbing, reaching 7,750 meters in the exploration of the surrounding peaks. In 1921 he moved to Somalia where he created a plantation and explored the Uebi Shabelle River to its source. He died in Africa on his estate called “Villabruzzi” in 1933.
BIOGRAPHY curated by Bruno Bocchi