Della Valle, Pietro [‘Il Pellegrino’]
- Robert R. Holzer
(b Rome, April 11, 1586; d Rome, April 21, 1652). Italian librettist, writer on music, composer and ethnographer. Born to a noble family, he studied the harpsichord with a succession of leading teachers, among them Stefano Tavolaccio, Quinzio Solini (with whom he also had lessons in continuo and counterpoint) and Paolo Quagliati, and the viola da gamba with Marco Fraticelli; he also studied dance with Fabritio Caroso. His libretto Il carro di fedeltà d'Amore was set by Quagliati and published in Rome in 1611; it is a short allegorical azione for five characters. Della Valle later claimed that it was first performed during Carnival 1606, and that it was among the first such works to be heard in Rome.
It was as an ethnographer that Della Valle was best known to his contemporaries. From 1614 to 1626 he travelled to Turkey, Persia and India. His letters from that time, which include remarks on the music of these cultures, are rich in detail. Their publication (...