Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pictures from Italy” as Want to Read:
Pictures from Italy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pictures from Italy

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  341 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
A delightful travelogue in the unique style of one of the greatest writers in the English language, the Penguin Classics edition of Charles Dickens's Pictures from Italy is edited with notes and an introduction by and notes by Kate Flint.

In 1844, Charles Dickens took a break from novel writing to travel through Italy for almost a year and Pictures from Italy is an illumina
Paperback, 220 pages
Published January 29th 1998 by Penguin Classics (first published 1846)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pictures from Italy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Pictures from Italy

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feeling sorrowful, as my delectable trip with Mr Dickens has just come to an inevitable end. Not surprisingly Italy turned out to be splendid but I have some observations to share about my travel companion also.

Everything you always wanted to know about my trip to Italy with Charles Dickens and his family* (*but were afraid to ask)

Frequently Unasked Questions

Why Italy?
Italy combines so many things I adore that the list would be endless. Charles Dickens sums up my awe concisely: 'Let us part from
Dec 17, 2016 rated it liked it
"I am not easily dispirited when I have the means of pursuing my own fancies and occupations" - made me laugh....aren't we all happy to have the means to pursue our own fancies?
"It is miserable to see great works of art - something of the Souls of Painters - perishing and fading away"

This is a different Dickens than in his novels, and yet the same. He's humorous, descriptive, observant. But unlike his novels, where he gets to the core of his characters and they come alive, the people in this b
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
PICTURES FROM ITALY. (1913). Charles Dickens. ****.
According to a preface written by the author, “This book is a series of faint reflections – mere shaadows in the water – of places to which the imaginations of most people are attracted.” Dickens spent a year touring Italy – including getting there and back – and managed to see a great deal of it, in spite of the difficulty of travel in those days. As a habitual visitor to Italy myself, I really enjoyed his insights into the people and their he
Bianca Rita Cataldi
Oct 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Being an Italian reader, this book has been a real adventure for me. It's funny to see your country through the eyes of an English author of the XIX century. From Genoa to Florence, from Rome to Naples, my beloved Italy has been told and described by one of the authors I love the most. Descriptions are accurate as usual, and there're also a lot of funny sketches about daily life in Italy. Some pages have made me laugh, some other have made me angry, of course. There's something I'd wish to say t ...more
Martin Bihl
Feb 26, 2011 rated it liked it
A curious volume from Mr. Dickens. Much better than his "American Notes", perhaps because he seems less disappointed and is more forgiving, but also because it reads less like a reporter's diary and more like a novelist's travelogue. That is, fewer facts and figures about prisons and asylums, more portraits of people and stores of the land. More heart, less head, one could say. Also interesting because one very much senses the development and evolution of the public persona of Dickens here - and ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A delightful travelogue of Dickens' travels throughout Italy in 1844, "Pictures from Italy" is like a deep, refreshing breath after the angry outbursts of "American Notes" and "Martin Chuzzlewit." This is Dickens at his best observational writing, showing us Italy through his eyes. Unlike his "American Notes," here he has no trouble finding the charm among the squalor and absurdity. He does notice plenty of absurdity, particularly when it comes to Catholicism, the Vatican, and all species of mon ...more
Patti Smith
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not much love for the Catholic Church but beautiful descriptions of Florence, Naples, Rome and especially dream like Venice.
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

Aprovechando que hace poco comenté una biografía literaria de Charles Dickens aquí en este mismo blog, voy a tomarlo como referencia para hablar, ahora sí de una sus últimas novelas publicadas, el libro de viajes “Estampas de Italia”. El propio escritor comenta en el prólogo inicial lo que serán sus intenciones con respecto a él:

“Este libro está compuesto por una serie de apuntes leves -meros reflejos en el agua- sobre lugares a los que la im
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
While much more famous for his novels, Dickens was also a memorable travel writer. The Pictures from Italy are well-named as they are just that, a kaleidescope of different pictures of various aspects of Italian life as seen by an observant outsider. From the outset, Dickens clarifies that he is not intending to provide a guidebook and that his impressions are personal. Given that he is Dickens, these impressions are well worth noting as they are expressed in his inimitable style with much humou ...more
Rollie Reid
In 1844 Charles Dickens took a break and visited Italy. He takes a house in Genoa, and then after completely trashing Genoa and Italy in general in this book, he takes off on a tour of Italy, taking in all the great sites.

I can only imagine that Dickens was very tired from working on his novels and truly needed the relaxation of an extended vacation, because through most of the book he comes off as more than a little grumpy. That is the best way I can put it.

His prose is wonderful, and his descr
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully descriptive

This is a delightful account of Charles Dickens‘ travels through Italy in 1846. The writing, of course, is superb and whereas his novels tend to be a bit too wordy for my taste, this travelogue reads like a breeze.

In his adventurous forays Dickens displays amazing courage, energy and stamina – even braving an ascent of Vesuvius at night. At other times he soaks up the multitude of impressions at leisure – the chapter on Venice is especially charming.

Dickens gives us his p
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
The 12th of Dickens' 24 major works, Pictures from Italy perhaps competes only with the worst of the Christmas novellas for the coveted prize of "least essential". Travelogues were an important part of the 18th and 19th centuries, when most people were rarely able to leave their country, and it took ages to get anywhere. In his American Notes, Dickens at least had fun on every page crafting a cheeky and less-than-kind portrait of his cousins from across the pond. Here, Dickens seems to dislike a ...more
laura saldarini
I have to say I'm glad to have read this novel.
Nonetheless, I actually don't know if I really liked it.
I was shoked by Dickend's words, by the disgust that he
freely expresses in describing the popular, poor, and run-down
places of Italy.
Unfortunately, I don't know much about the first part of the 19
century (maybe it's time to dust off some of my old history books),
but his words seem to private any beauty of every kind of redemption.

beautifully written are the parts about the marble quarries o
Michael B.
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Even though I love every thing I have read by Charles Dickens, I didn't think I was going to enjoy this as much as I did. I was afraid that without his interesting characters and plot this travel book would not hold my interest but of course the people he meets a long the way and Italy itself are the characters. I enjoyed his descriptions of the people and places, and his views on art and religion.
Nov 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
My favorite author in my favorite country...a perfect combination. The first twenty or so pages were slow going, but then again they were for Dickens, too. At this point in the book/journey he was going by carriage through France. When he arrives in sunny Italy, everything improves and the book has the charm, warmth, love of life, and (pardon this France) joi de vivre that makes Italy such an invigorating and stimulating place to visit - today, AND in the mid1800s.
Charles Dickens is one of my favourite writers of all time - this is his very curious account of his travels through Italy. His prose, as with his novels, is entertaining and slightly ironic at times. He paints a portrait of the people, the landscapes, and the incidents surrounding his journey - not always beautiful, but always beautifully put.
Jun 24, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm working my way through Dickens' major works and I wasn't looking forward to this one but it was ok. You wouldn't read it cover to cover in one go, though. Bits of it were quite dull, but some passages were very interesting in their own right and some of the description was vintage: could have come from A Christmas Carol or Martin Chuzzlewit which he was writing around the same time.
Frank Miller
Charles Dickens seems to hate Italy, until the very end where he wants to forgive it. The real problem that I had with to book is that travel writing should offer you a sharp colorful picture of a place, even if sometimes idealized. With Dickens, Italy seemed like a blurred, faded sepia place seen through an ill composed photograph.
Perhaps mistakenly, I expected more humour from this travelogue, a la Mark Twain in The Innocents Abroad (which I enjoyed tremendously). Anyway, based on Dickens' writing, it seems that Italy hasn't changed very much since 1846!
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Charles Dickens applied his eye for detail and his humor to travel writing. I loved it. I've been trying to read Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad for a year and it feels vague and sarcastic in contrast.
Mar 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Oh Chuck, he was like a very snarky but charming dinner guest in his descriptions of Italy. It could have been coming from the dear Dowager Countess of Grantham's mouth herself. I did enjoy it, he was very descriptive and it is nice to be so descriptive about a world that is completely gone to us.
Aug 09, 2013 is currently reading it
Loving Travel and having lived in southern Italy when I was young (many years ago) I am enjoying what I have read so far. I didn't know Charles Dickens had written anything like this. That fact alone makes it interesting for me. This was a free eBook.
Krisette Spangler
Jun 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I wish I could say that I enjoyed this more, because Dickens' writing is always wonderful. However, I found myself feeling annoyed with his talk of how dirty certain areas and people of Italy were. He had a very "the English are a superior people" attitude that I found tiresome.
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 19th-century, british
This is a travelogue of the author's time spent in Italy. I really enjoyed the detail in his descriptions of towns and scenery. It gives an overall impression of a leisurely amble through the Italian countryside, as well as criticism of things like the Vatican. It is an interesting critique.
Jan 07, 2010 added it
I got the complete works of Dickens for my Kindle for $1! I'm laughing out loud when I read this. The description of the dungeons in the Palais des Papes in Avignon, where the Inquisition took place is horrifying and funny at the same time, because the 'goblin' who gave the tour is hilarious.
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: italy, classics
This was fun to read, as one of my favorite English novelists describes his travels in my favorite European country. I loved
his descriptions of Rome and Florence especially and how much he
appreciated the Italian lifestyle, festivals, costumes, food, attitudes, etc.
Dave Turner
May 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
I've always not enjoyed reading travel log books and one's like this where the author himself isn't enjoying himself are excruciating. After this and his previous outing in 'American Notes', I'll choose to just remember the great man who wrote this for his amazing works of fiction instead.
Sep 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
An entertaining read about a journey Dickens took. Not always respectful, but funny.
Katrina McCollough
Feb 06, 2015 rated it liked it, I'm not a huge fan of this small series I just really don't enjoy his point of view. Obviously lots of Christian overtones.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Italian Hours
  • Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World
  • Hide and Seek
  • Charles Dickens
  • The Stones of Florence
  • D.H. Lawrence and Italy: Twilight in Italy/Sea and Sardinia/Etruscan Places
  • A Visit to Don Otavio
  • Italian Journey
  • The Ancient Shore: Dispatches from Naples
  • An Old Man's Love
  • Journals and Letters
  • Dickens
  • Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides
  • Charles Dickens
  • The Well-Beloved
  • Novel Destinations, Second Edition: A Travel Guide to Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West
  • Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece
  • Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands
Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and sho ...more
More about Charles Dickens...
“It is a place that 'grows upon you' every day. There seems to be always something to find out in it. There are the most extraordinary alleys and by-ways to walk about in. You can lose your way (what a comfort that is, when you are idle!) twenty times a day, if you like; and turn up again, under the most unexpected and surprising difficulties. It abounds in the strangest contrasts; things that are picturesque, ugly, mean, magnificent, delightful, and offensive, break upon the view at every turn.” 4 likes
“And let us not remember Italy the less regardfully, because, in every fragment of her fallen Temples, and every stone of her deserted palaces and prisons, she helps to inculcate the lesson that the wheel of Time is rolling for an end, and that the world is, in all great essentials, better, gentler, more forbearing, and more hopeful, as it rolls!” 3 likes
More quotes…