Grand Tour diary of an Irish woman, 1841, September 11-1842, April 7.


Grand Tour diary of an Irish woman, 1841, September 11-1842, April 7.

Manuscript diary, in a single hand, of a trip to Florence and Rome in 1841 and 1842. There are a number of corrections suggesting that this is an original manuscript, not a fair copy. The diarist, an unidentified Irish woman (who appears to have connections in London and England), is travelling with her daughter (Lizzy) and friends, stopping briefly in locations in France and Switzerland. The journey from London to Florence takes six weeks, but does not receive extensive description, aside from notes on hotels, church services, and the peskiness of Italian mosquitoes. The diarist and her party settle in Florence from 21 October 1841 to 22 February 1842. Diary entries during the first month of this stay are filled with the author's distress about the difficulty of finding long-term lodgings. Hotels and apartments in Florence "are full of English"; the lodgings that remain are too small, too expensive, too dirty, or require a six-month stay. At last her party takes up a house on the Piazza Santa Maria Novella. There settled, the diarist falls into a routine that usually begins with a morning church service (in an English church) or correspondence with family and friends in Ireland and England. There are frequent social calls to fellow English tourists, most frequently the Ponsonby's and Peyton's, as well as walks or rides in various parks, especially the Boboli Gardens and Parco delle Cascine. For art and culture, the diarist visits the Palazzo Pitti, the Uffizi, and the Duomo. After a quick journey through Tuscany, the diarist arrives in Rome on February 26, where she and her party stay for the remainder of the diary entries. In Rome, the author resumes her Florentine routine, with daily church services, sightseeing, and social calls (the Peyton's again, along with the Robert's and Levinge's). With her party, she visits the usual attractions, including the Forum and Colosseum, the Baths of Caracalla, the Vatican, and various gardens and villas. She also visits a number of artist studios and has a portrait painted of Lizzy. They attempt to engage Franz Knebel to teach Lizzy watercolor painting, but the artist cannot find time to do so. The diarist appears to be a devout Church of England adherent, and some of her longest diary entries (throughout her travels) are commentaries and critiques of ministers and sermons. In Rome, she is particularly fascinated in papal activity and Catholic ceremony in and around St. Peter's. She attends numerous Catholic services and makes frequent critical remarks. Of a vespers service at the Vatican, for example, she notes: "Very unlike Christian worship--a very few words of prayer in an unknown tongue, & the rest singing in an unknown tongue also, during which many of the performers were taking snuff, laughing & talking ...".

1 v. (253, [1] p.) ; 19 cm.


SNAC Resource ID: 8026304

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Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano (corporateBody)

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