Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Pension Bertolini (pan-see-OHN ber-TOH-lee-nee). Tourist lodge on the River Arno, in Florence, which caters to an English clientele. The Bertolini is based on a real pension in which Forster stayed with his mother on his first trip to Italy in 1901-1902. The pension is run by a Cockney woman, and, with its drawing room and pictures of Queen Victoria and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, on the walls, the hostel is calculated to make the English tourist feel at home. As in Forster’s other novels, it is abroad that members of various levels of English society, in particular the middle classes, seem to meet. The room to which Lucy is eventually assigned has a beautiful view of the river and the hills beyond. This view entices her out of the pension and into the dangers and possibilities of the city.
*Florence. City in northern Italy that was historically a center of culture and political power. For many English writers, Italy figured prominently as a romantically idealized, open, earthy society in stark opposition to closed, ascetic Victorian England. This was true of Forster, who felt that Italy had an awakening effect on him. It was both the seat of the Renaissance and an erotic ideal. As in England, however, Italy has both city and country attractions. Florence’s busy Piazza Signoria is the scene of Lucy’s first sexual awakening, as she witnesses an altercation between two Italian men. That is followed by her journey out of the city to the hills at Fiesole, where the novel engages the spirit of the place. In a scene, reminiscent of an early Forster work, “The Story of a Panic,” Lucy and the Whitmanesque hero George Emerson are overcome by passion and share their first kiss.
*London. Great Britain’s capital city, in which Cecil Vyse lives with his mother. London figures very briefly in the novel and is important in just two scenes. In the first, Lucy plays piano for a children’s party, in the chapter titled, “In Mrs. Vyse’s Well-Appointed Flat.” Lucy tires of everything in London, including her family and her suburban home. In the second scene, the cosmopolitan Cecil meets George and his father at the National Gallery. Cecil plays a joke on the suburban snobs in Summer Street by enticing the Emersons to take a lease on Cissy Villa. Contrasted to Surrey, London is dark, dank, and deserted. While it is the English center of sophistication, art, and culture, London lacks scenic views.