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Travel, Modernity and Rural Landscapes in Nineteenth-Century Liguria

  • PIETRO PIANA (a1), CHARLES WATKINS (a2) and ROSS BALZARETTI (a3)

Abstract:

New roads and, later, railways were essential for the modernisation and rapid economic development of north-western Italy in the early nineteenth century. The new routes also encouraged an increasing number of foreign travellers to visit the region. They opened up fresh tracts of countryside and provided novel viewpoints and points of interest; many travellers took the opportunity to record these views with topographical drawings and watercolours. In this article we make use of some of these views to examine how the modernised transport routes released new places to be celebrated by tourists and became themselves features and objects of especial interest and comment. We examine the works of three artists, one English and two Italian, who depicted landscapes of contrasting rural Ligurian landscapes. Their drawings and prints are contextualised and interpreted with maps, field data, archival documents and contemporary descriptions of roads and railways by travellers and in guidebooks.

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21. Archivio di Stato di Genova (ASG), Prefettura Sarda 89 Serie 1 Affari Generali nr 8 Ponti e Strade Reali Strada Reale di Levante, Lettera del Sig Argenti incaricato della direzione della nuova Strada di Levante all’ Intendente Generale di Genova Cavalier De Marini, loose letter, 1818.

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23. Piana, P., Watkins, C. and Balzaretti, R., ‘“Saved from the sordid axe”: representation and understanding of pine trees by English visitors to Italy in the eighteenth and nineteenth century’, Landscape History, 37 (2016), 3556.

24. Bruzzone, R., Watkins, C., Balzaretti, R. and Montanari, C., ‘Botanical relics of a lost landscape: herborising “upon the Cliffs about the Pharos” in Genoa, March 1664’, Landscape Research, 43 (2017), 117.

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26. Paroletti, Vittorio, Viaggio romantico pittorico nelle provincie occidentali dell'antica e moderna Italia (Torino, 1824), p. 37.

27. Paroletti, Viaggio romantico-pittorico, p. 24, trans. Piana, Watkins, Balzaretti (this article).

28. Strutt, Elizabeth, A Spinster's Tour in France, The States of Genoa & c. during the year 1827 (London, 1828), p. 421.

29. Johnson, James, Change of Air, or the Pursuit of Health an Autumnal Excursion through France, Switzerland and Italy in the year 1829 (London, 1829), p. 233.

30. Joseph Mallord William Turner, View on Coast of the Riviera di Levante, graphite on paper 143 x 97 mm, from ‘Genoa and Florence’, Tate D21467 Turner Bequest CCXXXIII 28 a (1828), <http://www.tate.org.uk/art/images/work/D/D21/D21467_9.jpg> [accessed 10th October 2017].

31. Piana et al., ‘Topographical art and landscape history’, 65–82; Piana, Watkins and Balzaretti, ‘“Saved from the sordid axe”’, 35–56.

32. Starke, Mariana, Information and Directions for Travellers on the Continent, 5th edn (London, 1828), p. 531.

33. Faccini, F., Robbiano, A. and Roccati, A., ‘Engineering geological map of the Chiavari city area (Liguria, Italy)’, Journal of Maps, 8 (2012), 893903.

34. Starke, Information and Directions for Travellers, p. 532.

35. Brandolini, P., Faccini, F., Robbiano, A. and Terranova, R., ‘Slope instability on rocky coast: a case study from Le Grazie landslides (eastern Liguria, northern Italy)’, Geological Society, (special publications) 322 (2009), 143–54.

36. Casanova, Giovanni, ‘Per una storia dell'alta Val Polcevera dalla riforma della Repubblica Genovese al Regno di Sardegna’, in di Campomorone, Comune, ed., Studi e ricerche cultura del territorio (Campomorone, 1987), cited in Palumbo, Roberto, La Strada dei Giovi e il Passo della Bocchetta (Genova, 2003), p. 21.

37. ASG Raccolta Cartografica, 75/89 Pianta, veduta e profilo di un tratto della strada della Bocchetta traversante un ponte (1785).

38. ASG Prefettura Sarda 85, Memoria dei Deputati dei Senato, Qual progetto meriti preferenza: quello di migliorare la Strada della Bocchetta o quello di costruire la Strada della Scrivia? (undated document, c. 1816, Section 1).

39. Rocca, Luigi, Pesi e misure antiche di Genova e del Genovesato (Genova, 1871), p. 106.

40. ASG Prefettura Sarda 85, Memoria dei Deputati, section 4.

41. Palumbo, La Strada dei Giovi, p. 17.

42. Morgan, Lady, Italy, Vol. 1 (London, 1821), p. 385.

43. Robert Heywood, A Journey to Italy in 1826 (privately printed, 1919), p. 32.

44. ASG Prefettura Sarda 85, Rapporto sulla Nuova Strada di Val di Scrivia 1816.

45. ASG Prefettura Sarda 85, loose letter, 31st August 1821.

46. ASG Prefettura Sarda 85, loose letter, 18th May 1822.

47. ASG Prefettura Sarda 86, loose letters 18th July 1822, 26th July 1822.

48. Cavazza, Serafino, Novi, Cittá del Piemonte (Tortona, 1982), p. 21.

49. ASG Prefettura Sarda 85, loose letter, 9th April 1822.

50. M. Silvano, ‘Vie, viaggi, viaggiatori nel Novese nella prima metá dell'Ottocento’, Novinostra, 3–4 (1985), 199–218 (207).

51. Brockedon, Traveller's Guide to Italy, p. 82; Casalis, Goffredo, Dizionario geografico, storico, statistico e commerciale degli stati di S.M. il Re di Sardegna, Vol. VIII (Torino, 1841), p. 543; Piana et al., ‘Topographical art and landscape history’, 65–82; Pedemonte, Sergio, Per una storia del Comune di Isola del Cantone (Savignone, 2012).

52. Gazzetta Piemontese, 4th September 1834, p. 563.

53. Tacchella, Lorenzo, Borgo Fornari e la sua Pieve nella storia (Verona, 1959), p. 23.

54. Sergio Pedemonte, personal communication (July 2017).

55. ASG Prefettura Sarda 211 Circondario di Genova, Amministrazione dei boschi, Tabella indicativa dei terreni che si propongono per essere dichiarati banditi, Provincia di Genova (1839).

56. ASG Prefettura Sarda 211 Boschi e Selve, Quadro generale dei terreni laterali agli alvei dei fiumi o torrenti suscettibili della piantagione prescritta dall'art 40 del Reg.

57. Brockedon, Traveller's Guide to Italy, pp. 90–1.

58. Kalla-Bishop, Peter Michael, Italian Railways (Newton Abbott, 1971), pp. 24–6.

59. Handbook for Travellers in Northern Italy, comprising Piedmont, Liguria, Venetia, Parma, Modena and Romagna, 8th edn (London, 1860).

60. Luciano Re, ‘The masonry bridges and viaducts of the first Piedmontese railway, 1845–1853’, in A. Sinopoli, ed., Arch Bridges, History, Analysis, Assessment, Maintenance and Repair, proceedings of the second international arch bridge conference, Venice/Italy, 6–9th October 1998 (Brookfield, 1998), pp. 73–80.

61. Giuliano, Maurizio, Viaggio da Torino a Genova (Torino, 1853), p. 103; Re, The Masonry Bridges, p. 76; Schram, Albert, Railways and the Formation of the Italian State in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1997).

62. Re, The Masonry Bridges.

63. Dragone, Piergiorgio, Pittori dell'Ottocento in Piemonte, Arte e Cultura Figurativa 1830–1865 (Torino, 2002).

64. Bossoli, Carlo, Views of the Railway between Turin and Genoa (London, 1853); Charles Newton, ‘Day, William (1797–1845)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/63102> [accessed 10th August 2017]. Bossoli and Day collaborated a few years later in the publication of an album of fifty-two tinted lithographs titled The Beautiful Scenery and Chief Places of Interest throughout the Crimea from Paintings by Carlo Bossoli (London, 1856).

65. Giuliano, Maurizio, Viaggio da Torino a Genova (Torino, 1853).

66. Macarthur, The Picturesque; Watkins and Cowell, Uvedale Price (1747–1829).

67. Handbook for Travellers in Northern Italy, p. 52.

68. Piana et al., ‘Topographical art and landscape history’.

69. Vallese, Davide, Appunti di Storia Ferroviaria Ligure (Genova, 2011).

70. Alford, Henry, The Riviera: Pen and Pencil Sketches from Cannes to Genoa (London, 1871), p. 51. The metaphor is from Butler, Samuel, Hudibras (London, 1684): Canto II, ‘And, like a lobster boil'd, the morn/From black to red began to turn’.

71. Alford, The Riviera, Pen and Pencil Sketches, p. 62.

72. Ibid., pp. 109–10.

73. Ibid., p. 161.

74. Bertolotto, Andrea and Pessano, Samuele, Da Savona a Ventimiglia, viaggio in ferrovia (Firenze, 1871), pp. 93, 163.

75. Giubilei, Maria Flora, La pittura di paesaggio in Liguria tra Otto e Novecento (Genova, 1990).

76. Seitun, Stella, ‘Il vedutismo tra ispirazione romantica e realismo’, in Enrico, A. and Seitun, S., eds, Natura, Realtà e Modernità: Pittura in Liguria tra ‘800 e ‘900 (Genova, 2015), p. 26.

77. Hunt, The Wider Sea A Life of John Ruskin, p. 41.

78. Jones, ‘Industrial enlightenment in practice’; Rodner, William, J. M. W. Turner: Romantic Painter of the Industrial Revolution (Berkeley, 1997).

80. Strachan, Edward and Bolton, Roy, Views of Russia and Russian Works on Paper (London, 2010).

81. The ‘vedutismo’ was the link between traditional eighteenth-century landscape art, characterised by a linearity of perspective and fixity of scene, and the realism of the nineteenth century that engaged with the subjectivity and emotional attitude of the artist: Beringheli, Germano, Dizionario degli artisti liguri (Genova, 1991); Papone and Serra, eds, En plein air.

82. Maitte, Corine, ‘The European “Grand Tour” of Italian entrepreneurs’, in Sweet, R., Verhoeven, G. and Goldsmith, S., eds, Beyond the Grand Tour. Northern Metropolises and the Evolution of Early Modern Travel Behaviour (London and New York, 2017).

83. Hearder, Harry, Cavour (New York and London, 1994).

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