Special Collections Exhibitions
Enlarging the prospects of happiness
  Great cities of Italy
  Pompeii & Vesuvius
  Philosophy of travel
  The picturesque
  England & Scotland
  Ireland & Wales
  Women travellers
  North & South America
  Travel publishers
  Twentieth-century travel writing
  Check lists
For an English audience, Italy was both alluring and alarming. Abounding with classical ruins and legendary statues and paintings, Italy was also separated from England by a precipitous route over the Alps and, after Henry VIII, by a fundamental religious divide. Rome was the ultimate aim first of pious pilgrims and later of the Grand Tourist. Italy was the best-known destination for English travellers, and few visitors would have set out without having read at least one of the major accounts of Italian attractions.

Classics graduate and grand tourist

A grand tourist himself, Joseph Addison made good use of his classical studies to compile what became the foremost English guide to antiquities in Italy. Essentially a geographical annotation of Latin literature and history, Addison's work addresses young gentlemen steeped in a classical education. The title Remarks indicates its rather casual structure and easy familiarity, though most of us would find its constant and frequently obscure allusions annoying.
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Boswell and Brydon

By the second half of the eighteenth century, the grand tour had been so frequently recounted that Boswell and Brydone both sought more remote corners of Italy. Boswell's usual irrepressible enthusiasm and undaunted effrontery secured him the acquaintance of Pascal Paoli, a freedom fighter of his day, while Boswell's published account (1768) earned for its author the life-long soubriquet of Corsican Boswell. Brydone dedicated his account to William Beckford, responsible for the fashion of picturesque tours, who had initially suggested Brydone visit Sicily:

I remember to have heard you regret, that in all your peregrinations through Europe, you had ever neglected the island of Sicily; and had spent much of your time in running over the old beaten track, and in examining the thread-bare subjects of Italy and France; when probably there were a variety of objects, not less interesting, that still lay buried in oblivion in that celebrated island. (1-2)

Brydone clearly identified the interesting objects, for his work went through more than 20 editions in his lifetime.
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Spiritual guides

Typical of a whole class of spiritual guides to Rome, this little volume lists the holy sights and quantifies the redemptive value of visiting each in terms of indulgences and remission of sins. If one had only a limited time to spend in Rome, such a guide no doubt repaid its modest purchase price many times over.
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A much-reprinted companion

These two editions reveal the impressive longevity of many travel accounts. Already in its third edition by 1658, Martinelli's work remained a valued and much-reprinted companion through the seventeenth century. His book also displays an early form of the package tour, dividing his sights into ten separate itineraries. Although the later edition is in a larger format, the illustrations are much less carefully printed. Both volumes are easily tucked into a convenient pocket.
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'Grand tour'

Credited with coining the phrase, 'Grand Tour', Lassels' book, like Addison's, aims at the fashionable gentleman and his tutor. As the title indicates, Lassels is more methodical, and in that respect, less original, than Addison. He is also much more didactic, proclaiming that among the virtues of travel are that it weans a young nobleman from 'the dangerous fondness of his Mother' [does this help explain the maternal frontispiece?] and takes him 'four notches lower in his self-conceit and pride'. (A7v, A8r)
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Boswell, James, 1740-1795.The journal of a tour to Corsica : & memoirs of Pascal Paoli by J.Boswell; ed., with an intro. by S.C. Roberts. Camb. : Camb. U.P., 1923.109 Leith St : Bliss YG/Bos4/R
Boswell, James, 1740-1795.
The journal of a tour to Corsica : & memoirs of Pascal Paoli by J.Boswell; ed., with an intro. by S.C. Roberts. Camb. : Camb. U.P., 1923.
109 Leith St : Bliss YG/Bos4/R
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