Marco Polo was the original, trailblazing ’tourist’. Born around 1254 into a wealthy Venetian merchant family, at the age of 17 he embarked on an epic journey to Asia and was one of the first westerners to visit China. When he returned he recorded his extensive travels by publishing a book which introduced Europeans to Central Asia and China, possibly the first ’travel guide’ ever published! Marco Polo’s travels have since inspired countless adventurers to set off and see the world. It is reputed that Christopher Columbus set off across the Atlantic with a copy of Marco Polo’s original book. It is this pioneering spirit that drives us at Marco Polo Travel Publishing to provide the best guides, maps, atlases, and phrasebooks to help you explore the world. We hope our guides and maps will inspire you to set off on your own adventures.