July 14th, 2011

travel in 1810: private coach from France to Italy

In the story I'm writing, two characters travel by private coach from Paris to Lucca, Italy, and from there to the east coast of Italy (either Ancona or Brindisi) to sail to Patra, Greece.  They leave Paris in July of ~1810.  Coach and horses can be top of the line; money is no object.  Only two passengers, and they're traveling fairly light.

Here are the things I'm trying to figure out:

-Roughly how far, on average, can they travel per day?  (They're not sightseeing, but they're in no great hurry either.)

-How would the driver take care of the horses, since they're not changing teams as on a stagecoach route?  (How often do they have to stop and rest, etc?)

-Would I assume a coach drawn by two horses, or more?

Search terms I've used in many combinations: road travel, speed, time, private coach, road transport, types of coach, carriage, grand tour, 18th century, 19th century, 1700s, 1800s, France, Italy, history of road travel, history of road transport...  I've also tried -stage and -England, since a lot of what I've turned up deals with the advent of stagecoaches in England.

Roman Empire

I have a couple of questions where I remember the details but I don't remember the source material, which is what I need to find. I hope someone will be able to help. (Even though I say Rome, it could be Greece. Or at least it was very close in time to one of them.)

1.) A Roman legion was in the middle of a campaign, and they had to cross a river. In order to do so, they had to build a bridge and they managed to do it in about a week. They crossed the bridge, conquered *whoever*, and then after they had the new province they went back across the bridge and pulled it up as they went, just to show how unstoppable they were. (I think this might have been during one of Julius Caesar's military campaigns in Germania but I'm not sure.)

2.) When archeologists excavated ruins (at Pompeii?), they discovered that the foundation bricks of certain buildings had been laid in a diamond pattern rather than the traditional "horizontal" pattern. No one could understand why, until they realized that the diamond pattern allowed for much greater stability during earthquakes since the energy was absorbed and/or dissipated by it.

Thanks in advance!