If you were a young, aristocratic European man in the late 18th through 19th centuries, you might well have taken a Grand Tour. After finishing your formal education, you would take a kind of gap year (or year and a half), traveling to and through the finest European capitals, including, in Italy, cities such as Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome and Naples.
You might have asked Alinari Brothers or another similar firm to create an album for you, comprised of their photographs of your favorite places. The Fratelli Alinari archives in Florence have many of these albums in their archives, and I had the opportunity to look at one of them from 1874.
It begins with a hand-tooled red leather cover. The book measures roughly 20 x 30 inches.
The Frontispiece reveals that this album was created in Naples, by the Giorgio Sommer firm.
This particular album begins with photographs of Torino, Milano, and Venice, as here:
This album then moves to Firenze, and here are 3 images from this section of the book:
Next, the book moves on visually to Rome. Here is a picture of oxen pulling carts through the Roman forum.
Then it was on to Naples. The following is a picture of Mt. Vesuvius erupting in 1872.
I could (and will) spend hours looking through these albums!
According to my guide at the Alinari archives, an album like this would have cost a young gentleman about $1500 in today’s money.