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Cities and the Grand Tour: The British in Italy, c. 1690-1820.

Cities and the Grand Tour: The British in Italy, c. 1690-1820. Rosemary Sweet. Cambridge University Press. [pounds sterling]60.00. xii + 329 pages. 978-1-107-02050-4. The historiography of the Grand Tour is well established as is the influence of these travels on English, if not British, architectural and artistic tastes. In this well researched history Prof. Sweet discusses a specific aspect of these 'tours': the famous cities of Italy--Florence, Rome, Naples and Venice. Her goal is 'recovering and understanding how these urban centres were experienced, described and represented as places'. She is interested in the 'after-life' of these cities in the growing number of travel books and the views travellers had of them. The book's first chapter takes a general look at these tours and what they meant, especially to the women who travelled although they were admittedly a small minority. When it comes to women travellers, some of the sources cited are from after 1814 when a new and different era in travel had begun. She then devotes separate chapters to Florence, Rome, Naples and Venice and how each had a markedly different impact on visitors after which she looks at the impact of 'medievalism' on travellers in an interesting chapter. She then has a fairly sizeable conclusion in which she notes how tastes and perceptions changed during this admittedly long-some might argue too long-period. (J.M.)

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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2012
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