'No-one has mined the wealth of English travel writing in Italy from the late seventeenth century to the early nineteenth century more assiduously or imaginatively than Rosemary Sweet. Her elegant, wide-ranging and compelling book develops a forceful critique of recent scholarship on the cultural and social histories of the Grand Tour, while at the same time skilfully demonstrating how the reactions of English men and women to the great cities of Italy reflected much wider changes in perceptions of national, social, gender and cultural identities, of the self and the modern. A must for specialists and sheer delight for everyone else.' John A. Davis, University of Connecticut
'Sweet's book gathers together an extraordinary range of published and unpublished sources, stretching beyond the traditional chronological boundaries of the Grand Tour, to offer the fullest account of the experience of British travellers to Italy. This is a sensitive and comprehensive account of a highly significant cultural phenomenon in modern British cultural history.' Melissa Calaresu, University of Cambridge
'However true Jane Austen's observation that 'we do not look in great cities for our best morality', Rosemary Sweet's engaging analysis demonstrates that travelers discovered great lessons of history in urban centers. Exploring Italian cities through the experiences of Grand Tourists, Sweet exposes new narratives of classical republics, medieval Gothicism, and Renaissance reclamation that gave urban history its early cultural capital.' Brian Dolan, University of California, San Francisco
The Grand Tour introduced British travellers to the urban environments of Florence, Rome, Naples and Venice at a time when unprecedented urbanisation was taking place at home. This fascinating study examines how cities were experienced, described and represented in travel literature and how the image of a city evolved.