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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Once upon a time, there existed Tasso Tourism

Tasso hugs his sister Cornelia again
(it happened in Sorrento, 1577;
he introduced himself as a pilgrim,
and said that Torquato was dead
in order to test his sister's love);
picture by Alfred De Curzon

A dear friend, Elena (see her website), has recently been in one of the most famous tourist places in southern Italy, Procida Island in the Bay of Naples. There a museum called Casa di Graziella (Graziella's Home) even exists in honor of the novel Graziella by Alphonse De Lamartine, published in 1852. Well, Lamartine's pages reveal that places related to Tasso were among the goals of foreign travellers' Grand Tours in Italy. For example, the passage reported below reads:
Finally, after satisfying my hunger for Rome, I wanted to visit Naples: Virgil's grave and Tasso's "cradle" especially attracted me. In my eyes, landscapes are always embodied in human beings, so Naples was Virgil and Tasso. It seemed to me that they had been alive not later than yesterday, and that their very ashes were still warm. In my mind I already foretasted Posillipo and Sorrento, Mount Vesuvius and the Sea, through the atmospheres of their beautiful and tender genius.