Venetië in de ogen van pelgrims - Stedelijkheid en stadservaring in laatmiddeleeuwse reisverhalen uit de Nederlanden | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 122, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


Late medieval travel descriptions offer an intriguing insight in how townsmen perceived the urban environment. Many pilgrims from the Low Countries on their way to Jerusalem stayed at the city of Venice, where most of them interrupted their journey in order to board one of the hundreds of ships sailing to the Levant. Their descriptions of this city represented it as a collection of almost separate spaces. The pilgrims were more interested in how these spaces functioned socially, rather than exactly how they appeared. The actor perspective is dominant. At the centre of the description was the pilgrim himself, how he experienced urban life and how he participated in it. Venice was a place of transition. On the one hand it was considered as something familiar, with the same religion, rituals and social organisation (though on a much grander scale than even in the densely urbanized Low Countries). But at the same time it was also very different, which triggered pilgrims to compare it with their own places of origins and to represent the city and its rituals within their own frame of reference. This explains the attention for the social, political and religious role of each space described and for the movement and social interaction within each space. It was the user of the city who ‘made’ it urban. Considered from this perspective urbanity was no architectural thing, but rather a personal social map.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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