ArcHistoR Architettura Storia Restauro - Architecture History Restoration (Mar 2017)

Le Voyage d’Italie (1836-1837) of Viollet-le-Duc as a basic experience in his training as architect

  • Simonetta Valtieri

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 1, no. 0
pp. 56 – 81


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The essay analyses the influence of Viollet-le-Duc’s travels to Italy in his early training. From an analysis of his letters from Italy, and drawings prepared during the trip, many aspects of his personality come to light: interest in Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance architecture; admiration for both the wild and sublime landscape of Mount Etna and the picturesque aspect of little villages in Central Italy. He appreciates the variety of Italian art which harmoniously gathers together languages from different ages. Hence, the trip was an important experience for his future as an architect, not only for the appreciation of different styles, building materials and constructive techniques of Italian historical buildings – which were to be a significant background in his upcoming career as a restorer – but also for the reason that, from this phase of early training, a fundamental aspect of his activities as architect and theorist was to be defined: the experience of the past as a source of knowledge for the future.