The Lure of Antiquity: 200 years of travel to Italy

The family and estate collections in our custody at the County Record Office contain a wonderful selection of travel journals and diaries of people who travelled to Italy in the 18th and 19th centuries. Our earliest item, A Voyage of Italy by Richard Lassels, c.1663, is particularly special, being a rare survival of a handwritten guide to Italy, which became the most influential English guidebook of its day. Together, this material represents two hundred years of travel to Italy.

We are fortunate that the authors of these journals kept such detailed written accounts, providing us with a unique insight into their travels. Through their eyes, and related material, we can re-live their experiences as they visit the ancient sites of Rome and the Bay of Naples. In their own words, they tell us so much: where they went, where they stayed, what they did, who they met, what they thought, how much they spent, what the weather was like, how they were feeling, how they travelled and what their journey was like.

Visit the following web pages to find out more and read extracts from some of the travel journals:

These blog pages have been written by Gail Falkingham to accompany an exhibition at the County Record Office from 25 May to 31 August 2023.