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The tour of Italy, much desired and intensely practiced for several centuries, was part of the common experience of the moneyed classes of much of cultivated Europe.

The principal stages on the journey through the peninsula, made in a north-south direction (at least until the time when, in the 19th century, Sicily and the South of Italy became new attractions), were and have remained (down to the present day) the cities of art, with Rome and Venice, Naples and Florence in sharp relief. Of course the itineraries connecting these poles were more flexible, as were the other cities and towns included in the tour , for the variations were ascribable to a thousand fortuitous, personal factors, depending on the period and the nationality. If we go to the heart of the different journeys, therefore, we find that each of them possesses an unmistakable personality of its own.

Yet it was a very modest flexibility. In fact, given the very large number of visitors, it would have been logical to expect a highly intricate map of routes. But this was not the case. Travelers stuck to an almost unvarying course, followed hundreds and hundreds of times with only minimal personal variations.


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