chapter  8
14 Pages

Touring Florence

In this chapter, we expand upon the points made in Chapter 2 regarding tourism as a secular ritual. We are careful in the framework of this book to draw the distinction between ritual as propounded by MacCannell and Graburn’s use of the term. The theory of ritual delineated by Graburn is a better fit for the case studies in this book precisely because it contends that the ritual of tourism ends not at the site, but upon returning home. Graburn’s work, in other words, takes account of the interrelationships between a tourism site and a site of “home” in productive ways, and in so doing, also makes room for the rituals of sightseeing to be considered within this larger construct. This chapter focuses on notions of communitas as they play out in two distinct destinations, Venice and Florence, thus exemplifying two particularly different roots of the concept. Venice represents, in this autoethnographic account, a more frequently visited space in which fields of care have begun to develop, thus generating a feeling of community, whereas Florence highlights the often instantaneous nature of communitas.