Around the world in 72 days. The journey of Nellie Bly

This adventurous journey was really made in 1889 by the young American journalist Nellie Bly (pseudonym of Elizabeth Cochran), 16 years after the pubblication of Jules Verne’s adventure novel on Mr. Phileas Fogg’s travel around the world in 80 days. At the time of her trip Nellie was 24 and was the favorite of Joseph Pulitzer (father of American journalism) who hired her at New York World.

Nellie’s challenge against the time fascinated for months the newspaper’s readers. She left New York on 14 November 1889, traveling on ships, trains and wagons. The reporter stopped in Londra, Calais, Brindisi, Port Said, Ismalia, Suez, Aden, Colombo, Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong, Yokohama, San Francisco. She was back in New York on 25 January 1890, triumphantly welcomed by the public who had devoured her travel reportages. Nellie’s diary offers us a rapid description of the world narrated with the sensationalist style of the journalism of her time. She also met Jules Verne, giving back fame and publicity to his novel.

Nellie traveled around the world with only a travel bag and few clothes. She was used to carry a Kodak in her reports, but this time she unfortunately forgot it at home!

We can thus review the places she visited through her words, but also through original photos of the era made available for this production by the Italian Geographic Society on occasion of the premiere and edited in the video by Federico Spirito. Images’ credits include also’s digital archive.


Nellie Bly Diana Forlani / Jule Verne Lorenzo Acquaviva (recorded voice)

music Massimo Fedeli / video Federico Spirito Alessio Raponi by Timeless Production

setting and director Paola Sarcina, costumes Rita Sorgi


First performance: 10° Festival della Letteratura di Viaggio, Società Geografica Italiana, 22 Sept. 2017