Postcards from the Boot is a visual celebration of the special alchemy of Italy — land of romance and imagination inspiring travelers and dreamers alike for centuries.

Created and curated by award-wining author Carla Gambescia in collaboration with La Dolce Vita University (LaDolceVitaU.com), artist and photographer Frank Yantorno of Mernano, Italy and The Scholar Archive of Florence.

 The First “Postcards from the Boot”

Early Italian travel postcardToday we take travel for granted. We can vacation almost literally anywhere in the world; remote places are more and more accessible and discount airlines make travel more affordable. The term “vacation” is very much a 20th century term. Before that, one went on “tour” which now, ironically, usually means a vacation side-trip. Back then “touring” was a many-month affair restricted to the upper class. For most, and especially well-heeled Brits, Italy was considered THE pinnacle of a European “Grand Tour” with mandatory stops in Venice, Florence and Rome (and possibly Naples and Pompeii). Bathers might have added Capri, while the adventurous headed for the picturesque beauty of the Italian Alps.

Early Italian travel postcardWith no cameras or souvenir shops, what’s an aristocratic traveler to do? An entire school of painting and painters emerged to satisfy “Grand Tourists” desiring a pictorial memory of Italy, especially the enchanting floating city of Venice. In a sense, these large-scale paintings are aggrandized postcards: lovely, romanticized images of holiday destinations, intended for the walls of the wealthy.  One of the best of these “View” painters was Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto, who elevated the form to its utmost heights. His works not only capture the epic beauty and refinement of Venetian architecture, but also convey the human drama and atmosphere that to this day give La Serenissima its unique sense of place.

Early Italian travel postcard