This map of Europe in 1867 illustrates Anne Whitney’s first sixteen months abroad. During this period she took two long journeys; the first, from her home in Belmont, Massachusetts over sea and land to Rome, and the second, from Rome north across the Alps into Switzerland and back again. The visualization of these two journeys demonstrates both the daunting distances—particularly in nineteenth-century terms—and diverse cultures and languages Whitney experienced during this relatively short period. While the ocean crossing had to be planned in advance, the overland journey, dependent on various public and private conveyances as well as the weather, was not, and that allowed for a certain degree of flexibility.
Whitney left her home in Belmont the morning of February 28, 1867, traveling by Shore Line train to New York, where she stayed with her companion, Addy Manning. Together with three friends, they sailed from New York on the S.S. Mississippi on March 2. It was an unexpectedly long and difficult journey, with a quick stop in Falmouth, England before landing at Le Havre on March 19. The group departed for Rouen that same evening, and remained there for two nights before proceeding to Paris for several days of sightseeing. At this point the friends split up; Whitney and Manning left to continue their journey to Rome on April 1, determined to get to Italy as soon as possible. They traveled quickly across the continent, moving from Paris to Mâcon to Saint-Michel and crossing Mont Cenis overnight. They arrived in Turin on April 3, stayed one night, and then moved on to Florence. Here they reluctantly stopped for a few weeks. More experienced travelers warned them that finding lodgings in Rome during the Easter season would be difficult and expensive, so they waited until April 24 before they took the train to Rome.
This first stay in Rome lasted two months; like most of the Anglo-American community and many of the native Romans, they knew they had to leave during the hot summer months. They departed for Switzerland on June 27, traveling north via Bologna, Milan, Arona, and Domodossola, and crossing the Simplon Pass into Switzerland to Sion and then Lausanne. Their three months in Switzerland were spent in a number of towns around the lakes, including Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald and Interlaken. They settled in Tell’s Platte on August 26 and lingered so long that the weather became problematic. Their first attempt to depart, on October 7, had to be postponed because of a snowstorm. They finally left on October 9, to Andermatt and crossing via the St. Gotthard Pass, stopping at Bellinzona, Lugano, Como, Milan, and Florence. At this point political circumstances delayed them; Garibaldi and his troops were threatening a march on Rome, and as a result their train from Florence was stopped before it reached the city. The women spent a night in Terni, then returned to Florence to wait for the situation to resolve itself. They finally reached Rome the evening of October 20. Here they remained through the fall and winter in their coveted apartment at the top of the Spanish Steps; they visited sites, attended social events, and studied art until they departed again on July 8, 1868 for a summer in Germany.
During these first sixteen months the women traveled across the Atlantic ocean and through three countries and dozens of cities and towns using a wide array of ships, trains, carriages, sleighs, and their own feet. They struggled to express themselves in French, German, and Italian, and thrilled at the sight of famous works of art and monuments and the acquisition of new knowledge and artistic skills. It was a productive period in many ways, well worth the financial, familial, and personal cost, and these sixteen months served as the basis for the rest of their time abroad.