Sunday, October 21, 2007

Regency Europe - Italy


The nice thing about going to Europe is that much of it is way older than the Regency era, so it means you can have your story set in other places besides or as well as England. Toying with an idea, this summer we decided to take a trip to Italy during our normal visit to England.

Now I must say, this was a very special trip for us, a joint birthday celebration. And we took the Orient Express from London to Venice. I have never felt so pampered in my life. However, as we all know, they did not have trains like this during the Regency. On the other hand, I think it gave me a sense of the luxury our nobility would have expected in their everyday lives.

The main point of the trip was to look at Venice, probably the city as close to the original as any one could find on the continent. This first picture is taken out of our hotel window. Yes, we actually looked down on a canal. What a thrill.

Obviously, these canals were like this during the Regency era too. During that era, Venice was like a rag doll, pulled back and forth between Austria and France under Bonaparte.

And the next picture is also taken from our hotel window directly into a garden. I notice all kinds of these little walled courtyards of green tucked into the most unlikely places. Of course the big palaces had amazing gardens, but it was these little tiny spaces that fascinated me the most.

As did this next spot, a landing place for gondolas to deliver or pick up goods. These days everything is still done by boat, but gondolas are for tourists and ceremonies, groceries are delivered by motor boat and garbage is picked up that way as well. Because of all the bridges and the streets which are paved, in addition to the canals, there are always people pushing hand barrows along streets and up and over bridges. I think Venetians have to be very fit to manage all of that walking and stair climbing.
Definitely something to remember when setting a book in this city. You also have to know your way around. The alleyways twist and turn, so it is very easy to get lost, as we found to our cost.

This last view just seemed so old world to me, with the building encroaching right over the walkway, leaving only an old tunnel, the boats lined up along the walls, along with the grills and the balconies and the washing hanging out of the window.


Of course the history of Venice is a whole other story, but I hope you enjoyed this little peak at my vacation. Until next time, Happy Rambles.