December 4, 2022

Goethe, the ante-litteram Erasmus student with his “Journey to Italy”

I consider  all men as my compatriots and embrace a Pole as I do a Frenchman, setting this national bond after the universal and common one.

With these words, the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne commented, in his Essais of 1580, how intelligence and taste for the arts were qualities independent of social status and above all from the origin of the individual.

A lesson learned from experience, after months spent abroad to discover customs, traditions and cultures of distant populations. A dream of European unity ante litteram, realized through the fascinating routes of the Grand Tour, the long journey that poets and young aristocrats made in the main capitals of continental Europe to complete their training and perfect their knowledge.

Like the modern Erasmus program, the Gran Tour represented a sort of rite of passage from youth to the world of adults. Discover the outside world through the culture of your own Continent, including works of art, breathtaking landscapes and meetings with the greatest men of knowledge of the time. And Italy was the destination par excellence thanks to the countless treasures preserved over the centuries.

From Montaigne to Stendhal, from Keats to Mary Shelley, many well-known writers have decided to embark on the famous journey, but one name among all has left its traces over time: it is that of the celebrated German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose fame is inextricably linked to his famous work “Journey to Italy”.

Written between 1813 and 1817, after almost thirty years, “Italianische Reise” represents not a simple collection of travel notes, but the careful and precise reworking of experiences, sensations and emotions lived during a stay that lasted almost two years . And the chosen form, that of the epistolary novel, was an almost obligatory step to fully represent the reflections on the very meaning of the journey, on the expectations before departure and on what actually happened.

“At 3 in the morning I got away from Karlsbad fearing that otherwise they wouldn’t let me leave. The friends, who had so cordially wanted to celebrate my birthday on August 28, had thereby acquired the right to restrain me, but I could not stay longer. Carrying with me only a mantel and a suitcase, I threw myself, alone, in a postal carriage and arrived in Zwoda at half past seven on a foggy, but beautiful and calm morning. The higher clouds were like woolly stripes, the lower ones were dense. They seemed to me a good omen: I hoped to be able to enjoy a pleasant autumn after such a bad summer season.”

September 1786. Goethe had just turned thirty-seven, when he chose to detach himself from the literal and political commitments covered in the Duchy of Weimar, to undertake the journey that would change his life. It was time to leave. And so, having obtained a sort of license from the Duke of Weimar, under the false name of Jean Philippe Möller, Goethe left for Italy, accompanied only by a hanger holder and a briefcase. Its the beginning of a journey of rebirth and initiation, to discover what he will consider, on return, his ideal homeland.

Goethe’s need to know Italy had nurtured since childhood, ever since his father, a famous jurist, following a trip to the Belpaese, had given him indelible memories, made of Roman prints and miniature gondolas. But above all he had cultivated the idea that it was necessary to visit Italy to complete the path of a rigorous training path. A land of inspiration and artistic warmth, Italy immediately appeared to him as an open-air museum, where you could be enchanted by the charm of the ancient buildings, completely immersing yourself in the places and nature in which that ancient developed and discovering the true nature of the people.

The journey went well beyond the original plan: he stayed in Italy for two years, discovering the charm of the ruins of Rome, heir to a great Empire, visiting Naples, a “paradise” between land and sea, and stopping in Sicily, direct testimony of the power of Greek architecture.

But like all self-respecting journeys, this training journey became a revelation, where the unexpected and the surprising touched the strings of the protagonist’s soul forever.

“I leave on this wonderful journey not to deceive myself but to get to know myself,” he wrote two weeks after departure, still ignoring that that journey would change him forever.

Related Posts

Not only Montecchi and Capuleti: an Erasmus+ in Rimini to get to know the Malatesta and Montefeltro families and their rivalry

July 26, 2022

July 26, 2022

Everybody knows the famous rivalry between the Montague and Capulet families or, if you will, between Romeo and Juliet. It’s...

SkillsAct4Vet: crossing results and widening impact

March 22, 2021

March 22, 2021

The debate around #SoftSkills has reached a central role during the last decade among the experts in training mobilities for...

Erasmus+ in Malaga to discover the biznagueros and the Arab heritage of Spain

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Walking through the wide streets of downtown Malaga, we cannot fail to notice men dressed in white shirts, black pants...

Training – Experience – Welfare: the three key elements of any Erasmus Plus projects

May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

After few weeks from the approval of the new 2021-2027 call of Erasmus Plus Programme, an important deadline is getting...

New deadlines for applications for Strategic Partnerships Key Action 2

March 18, 2020

March 18, 2020

Due to the difficulties caused by the onset of Coronavirus, the European Commission has set new deadlines for applications for...

Erasmus+ in 6 simple points

May 31, 2022

May 31, 2022

What is Erasmus? Let’s try to answer this question, even if it is not easy to resume 35 years of...

Erasmus+ KA2 IPAL project: it’s time for the third Transnational Meeting.

November 23, 2021

November 23, 2021

On the 3rd and 4th of November, all the partners from Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, and Greece attended the third Transnational...

Erasmus was born out of a disappointment: Sofia Corradi, from student to Mother Erasmus

January 20, 2020

January 20, 2020

1987: the European Union does not exist yet, the Berlin Wall is still standing and the single currency represents a...

An Amarcord and a piadina passing under the Arch of Augustus: when Erasmus+ in Rimini turns into a movie

June 10, 2022

June 10, 2022

According to popular opinion, the city of Rimini evokes many things: sea and sun, fun, sport, food and culture, the...

Erasmus+ KA2 Mob4app project: the Berlink team and the Final Meeting in Madrid

September 15, 2022

September 15, 2022

As part of the Final Transnational Project Meeting, we as representatives of the Berlink team travelled to Madrid to meet...

“Virtual Classroom”: Erasmus + training course for four teachers from Bulgaria has been successfully completed

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

The training course “BIG BLUE BUTTON AND G SUITE TO IMPROVE DIGITAL LEARNING” of the Erasmus + KA1 “Virtual classroom”...

Erasmus+ KA2 “SkillsAct4Vet” project: the platform for the training of VET teachers is active

December 16, 2021

December 16, 2021

The SkillsAct4Vet project coordinated by Tribeka has entered an exciting phase now, after the Transnational Project Meeting held in Athens...

Francesca and her Erasmus+ internship at Berlink

August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022

Hi, I’m Francesca, I’m 16 years old and I attend the ENGIM Turazza school, address graphic design in Treviso. I...

Erasmus+ KA2 IPAL project: promote and develop adult training and education

December 17, 2021

December 17, 2021

Briefly about IPAL The IPAL project is a joint initiative of 5 organizations from Spain, Bulgaria, Italy, Greece and Germany...

5 tips for an effective dissemination strategy for an Erasmus+ project

February 11, 2020

February 11, 2020

During the project evaluation phase, one of the quality criteria examined with greater attention regards the realization and management of...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Newsletter