This map plots the settings and references in The Bloody Chamber

To start exploring, click a red pin

Italy

'Puss in Boots' and 'The Tiger's Bride' are both set in Italy, a country perhaps not so obviously associated with the fairy tale 'tradition' as those of northern Europe, despite the fact that an Italian produced one of the first recognisable collections of 'fairy tales' (see below). 

The parallels between 'Puss in Boots' and the Commedia dell'Arte are clear, and used to great comic effect; they also suggest that the tale could take place during the 16th Century (in Bergamo).  There are certainly Renaissance influences in the story; this period involved a great deal of 'looking back' to the Classical Age, and the references to Roman Gods echo this.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'The Tiger's Bride' is probably set in 19th Century Tuscany, within fairly easy reach of Milan.  The girl and her father are Russian; in the 19th Century it became fashionable amongst the Russian nobility to spend the winter in the Italian Riviera

The unified country that we know as 'Italy' did not come into existence until 1871.  In the preceding centuries, the peninsula consisted of a number of separate states with differing and mutable foreign alliances, wars and royal families.  Some of these states were Florence, Naples, Milan and Venice, along with the Papal States.

 

 

 

 

 

'The Pentamerone' (two volumes: 1634 & 1636) is a collection of fairy tales written by Giambattista Basile.  They were old stories which had been carried down in the oral tradition; Basile wrote them in the local Neapolitan dialect, perhaps in order to emphasise and preserve this.  Both the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault later used this collection as a basis for such stories as Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Puss in Boots, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.

Stories From The Pentameron by Giambattista Basile, Translated by John Edward Taylor