Italian Journey

Italian Journey (in the German original: Italienische Reise [italien az]) is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s report on his travels to Italy from 1786 to 1788 that was published in 1816 & 1817. The book is based on Goethe’s diaries and is smoothed in style, lacks the spontaneity of his diary report and is augmented with the addition of afterthoughts and reminiscences.
At the beginning of September 1786, when Goethe had just turned 37, he “slipped away”, in his words, from his duties as Privy Councillor in the Duchy of Weimar, from a long platonic affair with a court lady and from his immense fame as the author of the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther and the stormy play Gtz von Berlichingen, and he took what became a licensed leave of absence. By May 1788 he had travelled to Italy via Innsbruck and the Brenner Pass and visited Lake Garda, Verona, Vicenza, Venice, Bologna, Rome and Alban Hills, Naples and Sicily. He wrote many letters to a number of friends in Germany, which he later used as the basis for Italian Journey.


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by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe