The Leaning Tower, Pisa, Italy (1890-1900). Public Domain /

By Liana Jacob

STUNNING photographs of Italy’s most architectural masterpieces during the 19th and 20th century show how Britons would have seen the nation during their Grand Tour of Europe.

The stunning Victorian-era pictures portray the elegant Cathedral Square in Pisa, the fascinating view of Porlezza and the awe-inspiring view of the Grand Canal in Venice.

Rezzonico Palace, Venice, Italy (1890-1900). Public Domain /

Despite these photographs being taken over one hundred years ago, the street scene in Rome still appears to be a holiday attraction.

Other images reveal the view of the Venice harbour in all its glory and the deceiving portrait of The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The Grand Tour was the conventional trip of Europe launched mainly by upper-class European young men who were ranked highly in their community, as well as women, if they were important members of society.

Harbor, Venice, Italy (1890-1900). Public domain /

The custom developed from around the late 17th century in 1660, until the arrival of large-scale rail transport into the 19th Century. It was an educational rite of passage, most famously for brilliant but debauched British thinkers such as Byron, Shelley and the playwright Oscar Wilde.

There has been controversy about the real identity of the architect of the building but for many years, the design was credited to 12th-century artist, Bonanno Pisano, and Guglielmo.

The Arena, Verona, Italy (1890-1900). Public Domain /

The building began unintentionally tilting during its construction in 1178, caused by an inadequate foundation on one side of the ground which was too soft to properly support the structure’s weight.

The slant increased in the decades before the structure was completed and continued to tilt until it was partially corrected by efforts in the late 20th century and early 21st century.

The construction of the tower was done in three stages over 199 years during in the early 12th century.

Tremosine, Lake Garda, Italy (1890-1900). Public Domain /