Itinerant in Italy

Francis Watson looks at British travellers in Italy throughout the ages.

British travellers to Italy, for so long and for different reasons their favourite destination, have nourished a great and continuing literature. Its central emphasis has commonly been found in the eighteenth century, although the term 'Grand Tour' was already used in the 1670s by Richard Lassels, a Roman Catholic priest who, like Maximilien Misson a generation later, offered useful comment and directions in the form of a personal itinerary. Addison's Remarks on Several Parts of Italy also served as a vade mecum for others. But though the conscientious guidebook and the worked-up accounts of travellers by themselves or others may thus sometimes be found to merge, the former is a genre of its own. Occupying a lowly place in literary appreciation it can nevertheless attract addicts who never travel without an early Baedeker to supplement whetever may be the latest compendium of essential information.

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