Henry James writer, in a letter dated 1869
Henry James letter 26 October written from Florence to Henry James, his father
“I have recently come in from a long walk in the Cascine – the great Bois de Boulogne of Florence – a lovely verdurous park, skirting the Arno, with no end of charming outlooks into the violet-bosomed hills. The Florentine beau-monde and bourgeoisie were there in force – a remarkably good looking set of people they are: the latter – the pedestrians – especially. I‘ve been vastly struck throughout with the beauty of the Italian race, especially in the men.
I feel able to say now with a certain amount of truth that I know the Uffizi and the Pitti. These two galleries are unutterably rich. It gave me a penetrating sense of the peculiar charm of Florence- of a general charm indeed of Italy-a charm inexpressible, indefinable, which must be observed in its native air, but which, once deeply felt, leaves forever its mark upon the sensitive mind and fastens it to Italian soil thro‘ all its future wanderings by a delicate chain of longings and regrets.”