Writer’s Travel Guide: The British Tourist and Napoleonic Milan

In this post:

  • How to get to Milan in the 18th century
  • Where to stay
  • Dangers and annoyances
  • Napoleonic sight-seeing in Milan

Travelling to Italy had always strongly appealed to the British aristocracy. Milan had been a favourite since Maria Theresia, sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire, remodelled the city in the second half of the 18th century: Milan featured lovely public gardens, and the fabulous opera house La Scala. But Alas!, visiting this splendid city came to a halt for British travellers from 1796 to 1814, when Napoleon had occupied Milan and most parts of Northern Italy. It was only after the Battle of Waterloo that British tourists could visit Milan again. One of the most famous tourists was Lord Byron, who spent two weeks in Milan in October 1816.

Lord Byron had always been an admirer of Napoleon. In Milan, he was lucky to get acquainted with the French essayist Stendhal (Henri Beyle by real name). Stendal had worked under Napoleon’s Secretary of State. Byron and Stendal met almost every evening for several weeks, and Byron questioned Stendal about his hero.

Some British tourists took a special interest in seeing the places of Napoleon’s power. Thus, locations connected with Napoleon became a curiosity for tourists. I have selected some of them for you in this post. Find out more about Napoleonic Milan: Continue reading

Gossip Guide to the Kingdom of Naples: Inside the Palace of Caserta

PArt 3 casertaFind in this gossip guide for the 18th century:

  • Palace, Pomp and Politics
  • The British Ambassador as Tomb Raider
  • Love & the Palace
    – Shocking: Emma and Nelson!
  • A King from France & the English Princess

Welcome, dear Regency Enthusiast, to a virtual tour of the Palace of Caserta. The palace is a grand building, and the heart of the government of the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily (learn more the kingdom as a travel destination for British travellers in the 18th century here and here). In quick succession, the palace is also the home of 3 royal couples, their British friends and visitors – and their scandals: Continue reading

Writer’s Travel Guide: The British and the Grand Tour to the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily (Part 2)

05 palaceFind in this travel guide for the 18th century:

  • The Antiquities Trail:
    – Herculaneum and Pompeii
    – Paestum
  • Practical Tips for Travellers
    – Where to Stay
    – Specialities
  • Danger & Annoyances
  • Money & Measurements

The Kingdom of Naples and Sicily became a popular destination for British tourists with the discovery and excavation of ancient ruins in the mid 18th century. The art found at Herculaneum and Pompeii sparked the European Neo-classicism: It was the motifs from these ancient ruins that featured on stylish furnishings in England.
Part 2 01 EinstiegArchitects, artists and their rich patrons braved the inconveniences of a long journey to see the celebrated ruins themselves.

In this part of ‘Writer’s Travel Guide: The British and the Grand Tour to the Kingdom of Naples’ we discover the famous ancient sites as a travel destination for Grand Tourists of the Romantic Age. Continue reading

Writer’s Travel Guide: The British and the Grand Tour to the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily (Part 1)

02 AntiquityFind in this travel guide for the 18th century:

  • The Destination: Facts & Figures
  • Getting There & Around
  • Things to See & Do in Naples
    – Neapolitan Dolce Vita
    – Balls, Suppers and Assemblies
    – Culture & Entertainment
  • Nature & Activities
    – Climbing Mount Vesuvius
    – Watersports

For British travellers, Italy was an essential destiny of the Grand Tour. However, most travellers didn’t go farther than Rome. Only the adventurous or scholarly continued to the South, to ‘The Kingdom of Naples and Sicily’. This was to change with the discovery and excavation of the ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Paestum in the mid 18th century.

01 South ItalyEager to see the sites of Antiquity themselves, architects, artists and their rich patrons ventured down the long road to Naples, braving brigands, mosquitoes and heat.

  • How did they travel?
  • What would they see and do in 18th-century Naples?
  • Which sites would they visit?
  • Where would they stay?

With this post, Regency Explorer provides a travel guide to the ‘Kingdom of Naples and Sicily’ for travellers of the Romantic Age. Continue reading