Gender, Class, and Mobility

Critical Perspectives on the History of Travel
6 ottobre 2023
Orario di inizio 
Palazzo di Sociologia - Via Verdi 26, Trento
Sala professori - Primo piano
Organizzato da: 
prof.ssa Rosa Miriam Salzberg
Comunità universitaria
Ingresso libero
prof.ssa Rosa Miriam Salzberg
Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale


  • prof.ssa Rosa Maria Salzberg, Università di Trento


  • dott.ssa Sandra Toffolo, Fondazione Bruno Kessler


  • prof.ssa Rosemary Sweet, University of Leicester  Professor of Urban History at the University of Leicester

Sociability and Social Observation in the Journals of Eighteenth-century Female Travellers to Italy and Spain

Histories of European travel in the Anglophone tradition have been dominated by the institution of the ‘Grand Tour’, focusing upon the experiences of aristocratic youth in Italy and seeing the Grand Tour as a site for the performance of masculinity.  Contrary to these orthodoxies, by the later 18th century women outnumbered the elite young men travelling to Italy. Further, the emphasis upon the Italian peninsula has meant that travel in other parts of Europe has been overshadowed.  In this paper, I focus upon female experiences of travel to Italy and to Spain, a country that is not only omitted from most studies of European travel, but is generally assumed to have been unsuited to female travellers. Close attention to the journals of female travellers reveals the different constraints under which women travelled, particularly those imposed by caring responsibilities and their own health problems. The role of sociability, particularly with fellow Britons, assumes a much greater prominence and the centrality of women to shaping the broader social experience of the ‘Grand Tour’ becomes evident.  Finally, it considers the intersectionality of gender and status whereby elite women were able to secure access to spaces from which women were generally debarred.  But as British women also discovered, there were certain social and sartorial conventions that they could not ignore and these had a determining influence on their experiences.

  • prof. Richard Ansell, University of Leicester Research Associate at the University of Leicester British

Servants and the Eighteenth-Century Grand Tour

Servants are an unknown quantity at the heart of the Grand Tour, one of the most elite topics in eighteenth-century historiography. But if each high-status traveller brought at least one employee, then more people knew this kind of travel as a period of work than as a rite of passage or an early form of tourism. What can we recover of their experiences, how did they differ, and what can they tell us about the relationship between class and mobility?My paper introduces this hidden majority by looking at manuscript texts by four British servants: Thomas Addison’s journal for France and Italy (1765), Edmund Dewes’s diary for France, the Low Countries, Germany and Italy (1776), James Thoburn’s several travels to the same destinations and the Ottoman Empire (1787–98) and Ann Scafe’s Parisian journal (1790). I set these texts alongside the archives of their employers, surveying what they have to say about servants’ labour, master/servant relations on the road, the degrees of agency that servants had over their own mobility and how far their experiences resemble what we already know about the aristocratic Grand Tour. I conclude by thinking about what foreign experiences meant in later life to men and women who had travelled in service. Their journals not only contribute to curren