Even before the advent of mass tourism, Verona was a popular destination for travellers, including those undertaking the popular 'Grand Tour' across Europe. In this book, Caroline Webb compares the experiences of travellers from the era of Shakespeare to the years following the incorporation of the Veneto into the new kingdom of Italy in 1866. She considers their reasons for visiting Verona as well as their experiences and expectations once they arrived.
The majority of English visitors between 1670 and 1760 were young members of the aristocracy, accompanied by tutors, who arrived on their way to or from Rome, as part of a 'Grand Tour' intended to 'finish' their classical education. With the Industrial Revolution in the second half of the eighteenth century, and the resultant increasing wealth of the upper middle classes, the number of visitors to Verona increased although this tourism was derailed once Napoleon invaded Italy in the late 1790s. After 1815 and the allied victory at Waterloo, there was a new flood of visitors previously deprived of the opportunity of continental travel during the Napoleonic wars.
As the nineteenth century progressed, especially with the arrival of the railway, an increasing number of visitors appeared from across Europe and even from across the Atlantic, keen to explore the fabled city of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In comparing a myriad of varied accounts, this book provides an unrivalled perspective on the history of one of Italy's most seductive cities.