The famous Florentine naturalist completed his studies at the universities of Pisa and Bologna. After taking his degree, he went to England, to the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew, where he had the chance to meet Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and James Brooke (1803-1868), the Rajah of Sarawak (Malaysia). It was thanks to this acquaintance that Beccari, at the age of only 22, departed along with the Genoese naturalist Giacomo Doria (1840-1913) for Malaysia, where, within the span of three years, he collected numerous samples of flora and fauna, describing in particular over 130 species of palm tree. Returning to Florence he founded, in 1869, the Nuovo Giornale Botanico Italiano [New Italian Botanical Journal]. A second voyage brought him to Ethiopia where, in 1870, he participated in the purchase of the Bay of Assab, the first core of the future Italian colony of Eritrea. From 1872 to 1875 he was in New Guinea and Indonesia, exploring territories still largely unknown. After a brief sojourn at home, from 1877 to 1878 he journeyed again to the Far East, visiting India, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. Upon his return to Italy, in 1878, he was appointed Director of the "Giardino dei Semplici" in Florence, a position he left the following year, while continuing to dedicate himself to the botanical collections he had formed during his voyages. These were published in the review Malesia, raccolta di osservazioni botaniche intorno alle piante dell'arcipelago indo-malese e papuano [Malaysia, report of botanical observations on the plants in the Indo-Malaysian and Papuan archipelago] (1877-1890), founded by him. Beccari's name remains known above all, however, for his book Nelle Foreste di Borneo. Viaggi e ricerche di un naturalista [In the forests of Borneo. The voyages and research of a naturalist], published in 1902 and immediately translated into various languages.
Last update 28/feb/2008