Unravelling Civilisation adheres to the magical interpretation network attached to travel and travel writing. Nothing less is expected from travel writing than the decoding of an intricately different culture. And it also reflects what we expect from travel ourselves. The book is a result of a two-day conference at the European University Institute in Florence that took place already in May 2001. The articles string together variation of a theme over time and space. European civilisation as a semantic field, and the history of travel and travel writing are followed from the pre-modern period to the peak of travel writing during Enlightenment. The book also picks up the thread in the early nineteenth century and follows the nexus of an idea of Europe and how it is reflected in travel writing until today.