‘O’er Campagna’s meadows the bold Britons ride’: English encounters with Italian animals in the Roman environs
Dr Robert Hearn is an Assistant Professor in Human Geography at the University of Nottingham, with a specific focus on cultural-historical geography and environmental History. His specific research interests concern animal and more-than-human geographies and cultural-species histories in northwest and central Italy from the nineteenth century to the modern day. This paper presents the results of research conducted as a British Academy Rome Award holder at the British School of Rome.
This paper explores the peculiar spectacle of foxhunting in the Campagna Romana by English inhabitants and tourists to Rome during the 19th century. Tracing the histories and geographies of the ’chase’ in a landscape that simultaneously beguiled and bewildered, this presentation examines the establishment and development of fox hunting, a choreographed performance of English rurality, in the Roman environs; a (re) invented tradition in ancient landscape shaped by inherited customs and practices. However, whilst providing English inhabitants and visitors to the ‘Eternal City’ with sporting leisure and mode for cultural expression, this paper suggests that the English fox hunt in the Roman Campagna provided a framework by which to negotiate and narrate a complex, contradictory landscape, albeit one oddly reminiscent of those that the hunters left behind.
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