Italian Journey initially takes the form of a diary, with events and descriptions written up apparently quite soon after they were experienced. The impression is in one sense true, since Goethe was clearly working from journals and letters he composed at the time — and by the end of the book he is openly distinguishing between his old correspondence and what he calls reporting. But there is also a strong and indeed elegant sense of fiction about the whole, a sort of composed immediacy. Goethe said in a letter that the work was “both entirely truthful and a graceful fairy-tale”. It had to be something of a fairy-tale, since it was written between thirty and more than forty years after the journey, in 1816 and 1828-29
Goethe began his trip to Italy in 1786, after he had tried to travel three times previously to such a trip. He traveled (mostly by stagecoach and almost always alone) of Carlsbad about Eger, Regensburg, Munich, Mittenwald, Scharnitz, Seefeld, Zirl, Innsbruck and the Brenner, Bolzano, Trento Lake Garda (Torbole and Malcesine), then on to Verona, Vicenza , Padua, Venice, Ferrara, Cento, Bologna, Loiano, Perugia, Terni and Città Castellana to Rome, where he stayed four months. He then set off, together with the painter Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein, about Velletri and Fondi to Naples. He stayed there for nearly five weeks, made two trips to the currently active Vesuvius and visited Pompeii, Caserta, Capua, Herculaneum and Paestum. Then he sailed by boat to Sicily, where he visited Palermo, Alcamo, Castelvetrano, Sciacca, Girgenti, Caltanissetta, Catania, Taormina and Messina. His return led him back through Naples, again to Rome. He held out for almost a year, attended the surroundings and devoted himself while studying antiquity especially practical drawing and painting exercises and continuing his work as a writer before he went to Easter on the way back to Weimar. He came over Siena, Florence (he to go on the journey of impatience finally to Rome, had only touched), Bologna, Modena, Parma, Piacenza and Milan – stations, which are however not commented in his Italian Journey.
|11||Lake Garda, Italy|
|12||Province of Verona, Italy|