What was Florence like in 1764?
LIGHT MODE
DARK MODE
Get 1 year from 27.50 €

Digital and paper subscriptions available worldwide

Subscribe now

What was Florence like in 1764?

Mary Jane Cryan lives in a small town nestled between Rome and Tuscany that has been under the protection of the English crown since the time of Henry VIII. Travels to Tuscany and Northern Lazio, the latest addition to her decades of ferreting out hidden history, gives readers a glimpse

bookmark
Fri 08 Sep 2006 12:00 AM

Mary Jane Cryan lives in a small town nestled between Rome and Tuscany that has been under the protection of the English crown since the time of Henry VIII. Travels to Tuscany and Northern Lazio, the latest addition to her decades of ferreting out hidden history, gives readers a glimpse of 18th-century travel as experienced by high-ranking ecclesiastics and nobles.  The heart of this thoroughly-researched and well-documented book is a travel diary kept by Don Giovanni Landò, secretary to Cardinal Henry Stuart, Duke of York, who made three trips to Tuscany and Northern Lazio between 1763 and 1776.  The extraordinarily detailed diary records the Cardinal’s daily schedule, habits, dress, health, and social engagements, and we are swept up at once into the bustle of this royal Cardinal’s travels. Students of history will relish the book’s rich documentation, but Travels to Tuscany and Northern Lazio is not just for specialists. It gives a fascinating picture of what life was like in 18th century Tuscany with detailed descriptions of Florence, Pisa, Bologna and the towns of northern Lazio. Travel times are meticulously noted so that modern travelers can compare how long it took to travel between Tuscan cities 250 years ago.  There are minute descrip-tions of churches visited, and of the treasures and reliquaries they contain, as well as of the sumptuous food served at banquets. In addition to the diary, previously unpublished in any language (the second part of the book contains the full text in Italian), Cryan provides a wealth of historical information to help set the scene–itinerary maps, old prints and period illustrations of vestments and towns visited, a bill for carriage repair, the members of the travel-ing party, and even a list of prices at a local grocer. These practical details are the stuff of historical reconstruction which allow the reader to under-stand the daily life of a bygone era.A brief chapter on other travelers to the area, along with current descriptions of the places visited on the Cardinal’s three journeys, completes the vol-ume. The finely-done illustrations and art work by Justin Bradshaw make for a handsome book. In retracing the steps of travelers throughout history, Cryan has helped fill in a blank space on the map of the Grand Tour, for much documentation still lies buried in archives. Her books are a mine of in-formation, anecdotes, and curiosities for all those interested in delving deeper into the history of central Italy.  Signed copies are available at  www.elegantetruria.com  or may be ordered at BM bookshop on Borgo Ognissanti.

Related articles

ART + CULTURE

Viareggio Carnevale celebrates 150 years

Viareggio Carnevale is a multimillion euro enterprise. We go behind the scenes to see the floats in the making

ART + CULTURE

Science sisters: Artemisia visits the National Institute of Optics

INO Director Raffaella Fontana tells us about the conservation of Artemisia's Allegory of Inclination, using 3D digital technology.

ART + CULTURE

Honoring heroes of the past

Learn the backstory of "Heroes, a True Story" based on courageous real-life events in Fiesole during the Second World War.

LIGHT MODE
DARK MODE