In the Chaco, the memory of the pioneers who travelled across these territories in the 19th and 20th centuries and came into contact with the indigenous peoples is still alive. Thanks to them, cultural goods from that period are still conserved in European museums today.

Guido Boggiani collected artefacts from ethnic groups living along the Paraguay River,
which are now housed in Rome’s Museo Preistorico Etnografico Luigi Pigorini.

Doroteo Giannecchini brought back to Italy a collection of objects from populations of the
Pilcomayo River. They were presented at the 1898 Turin Exhibition and are now on display at the
Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology of the museum system of the University of Florence.

Guido Boggiani

Guido Boggiani (Omegna - Novara, September 1861 - Chaco, Paraguay, 1901) was an Italian painter, draftsman, photographer and ethnologist, In 1887, he ventured into the largely unknown lands of Paraguay to document the life of the local natives.
Boggiani was committed to documenting native cultures through science and art. He explored the inaccessible Chaco region on several occasions and studied the ethnography of indigenous peoples in-depth, including the Chamacocos, Kadiweu, Guaná, Qom, Lenguas, Angaités, and Sanapanas.
Thanks to conferences and publications in specialised magazines in Asunción, Buenos Aires and Rome, Boggiani spread valuable research findings. He published articles in defence of the Guaraní language and put together an important collection of objects and photographs of the populations he had studied. He died in Chaco, during one of his explorations. His death generated great emotion among Paraguay’s intelligentsia.
To learn more about his life and works, download the notes on Guido Boggiani written by Gherardo La Francesca

Doroteo Giannecchini

Doroteo Giannecchini (Pascoso di Pescaglia, Lucca, 1837 - Tolomosa Grande, Bolivia, 1900), was a Franciscan missionary who dedicated his life to studying and exploring the indigenous cultures of the Chaco.
After meeting Father José Matraya Ricci, who had been living in Peru and Bolivia for many years, Giannecchini decided to travel to Latin America as a missionary. On 21st June 1859, he sailed from Genoa and on 28th August he arrived at the port of Montevideo. From there, he travelled by land toward Tarija, Bolivia, where he arrived on the night of January 4th, 1860. The convent of Tarija was a Propaganda Fide college, which included in its missionary circumscription the Reduciones of the Guaranì of Chaco.
The prefect Father Giuseppe Giannelli sent Giannecchini to the recently-founded Reduciones of Chiriguanos, Noctenes and Tobas of San Francisco Solano, which was located on the banks of the Pilcomayo River (a tributary of the Paraguay River). He immediately dedicated himself to studying indigenous languages, mastering Chiriguanos in a very short time. From there, he moved on to the Reduciones Tarairí, which was still being founded at the time, and then to the Reduciones of Caiza.
As a converter, Giannecchini presided over the Reduciones , which were made more problematic by the pressure of the landowners . In 1892, he returned to the convent of St. Francis of Tarija, where he wrote a Chiriguano-Spanish dictionary. In 1895 he travelled back to Italy to recruit missionaries. In November 1898, he returned to Bolivia, where he resumed his missionary activity and the writing of his dictionary. He died in Tolomosa Grande on 9th April 1900.
To learn more about Giannecchini’s life and works, download the notes written by Gherardo La Francesca