Archive for May 9th, 2010

I’m going to Italy with Virginia Woolf. I’m sure we will have a wonderful time.

She accompanied me to Ireland a few years ago, and we had such fun that we are traveling together again.

Woolf was a great European traveler. Of course she traveled around England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, but she also visited six other European countries. She spent time in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Greece, as well as Italy. She toured some of these countries more than once.

While in her twenties, she also made two trips to Turkey. 

I got most of those facts from a wonderful book titled Travels with Virginia Woolf written by Jan Morris and first published in 1993. And it’s because of that book that I know whenever I am traveling in Woolf’s steps.

Morris scoured Woolf’s diaries and letters in preparation for writing her Woolf travelogue. Then she went one big step further. She visited some of Virginia’s favorite spots herself. 

I expect to find Morris’s own observations most useful on my own Italian trip, for she has noted how the sights and scenes of present-day Italy do or don’t match up to what Woolf experienced during her seven trips to the country where she said she would “come to die.”

Right now, I have a photocopy of the 15-page “Italy” chapter in my carry-on bag. I plan to spend my eight-hour Alitalia flight highlighting the spots Woolf saw that I, too, will have a chance to see.  I will let you know how they compare.

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