Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blhn? “Kennst du das Lied? Ganz Italien ist darin geschildert” [Do you know the song? All of Italy is portrayed in it]. In this way, Heinrich Heine, in his Reisebilder (1828) connects with the famous quotation from Goethes Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (1796), in which Goethe had expressed the romantic sehnsucht [longing] for Italy. In 1786, Goethe had refreshed his gloomy Northern European soul in that sundrenched country. A horde of romantic authors, including Mme de Stal (Corinne ou lItalie), Lord Byron (Childe Harolds Pilgrimage), Joseph van Eichendorff (Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts) and of course Heine himself, later followed in Goethes footsteps. For that matter, a crowd of earlier examples could easily be added to the list, going back as far as Shakespeare with Romeo and Juliet. For Italy was an irresistible magnet to the imagination, with its remains of ancient civilizations, beautiful art, and glorious nature – not to forget its sensual people…..