Goethe visita guidata
17 Apr

Goethe, a voyager of the past

During a guided tour one of the most remarkable voyagers of the past is surely mentioned. Reading his travel diary is really appreciated as well as sharing his reactions with our tourists today. The Italian Journey is about the meeting between the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Italians. Although his first contact with Italy happened before his journey. His father referred the previous experience in this country and the young writer studied the Italian culture. Later, Goethe’s desire to visit Italy bacame stronger. His job as a minister in Weimar, the relationship with Charlotte von Stein and creativity’s problems caused to escape towards Italy.

In Italy!

At 3 a.m. on 3rd September 1786 Goethe undertook disguised this adventure. First he stayed in Verona, Vicenza, Venice, Padua. Then he reached Rome, Naples and Sicily. In Italy Goethe was into art and nature, but he compared behaviours, performances at theatre and vivid street markets.

The description of the amphitheatre in Verona is deeply interesting. Goethe believed that its construction was planned keeping in mind people attending the performances inside. On 15th September 1786 he was observing the amphitheatre and wrote:

Here the problem of the architect is to satisfy this general want. By means of his art he prepares such a crater, making it as simple as possible, that the people itself may constitute the decoration

Goethe walking on the streets in Sicily

Goethe was interested in the story of some famous people at that time for example count Cagliostro, whose real name was Giuseppe Balsamo. The nobleman was known because of his qualities as a magician and healer. He was involved in the affaire du collier in Paris, so he was imprisoned, banned from France in 1786 and arrested in Rome. Goethe met Cagliostro’s family in Palermo twice. The poet was impressed not only by the poverty but also the courtesy of these people.

Walking on the streets in Palermo he spoke to humble locals, who taught him their habits. Goethe sometimes spent hi time in a small shop of Cassaro district.

Moreover, he enjoyed some religious happenings. He saw the procession in honour of Saint Rosalie and he carefully watched the details such as the jewels and the clothes, which decorate the statue.

But he was sad when he visited Messina, that was deeply damaged by the earthquake on February 5, 1783.

In conclusion, Goethe recovered his artistic flair, in Taormina he revised his fragment Nausikaa. He sat down on an orange tree trunk, he glanced at the sea and the sky in order to draw inspiration for his poem.

Brigida Carrubba