We all yearn for the past. We can’t help but feel wistful and nostalgic when we walk past a river that flowed before the city around it existed, walk upon the marble floors of a century-old mansion, stand on the ramparts of a fort, or smell the flowers in a decades-old roadside market.

Swanky malls, highways and skyscrapers might give us an adrenalin rush, but a place that has endured has a way of reassuring us that it is a steady presence, and has resisted the forces of time and change.

That’s why this summer travel special is about places from the past. In this issue, our stories try and capture the joy of visiting places that have stood steady through the passage of time. Our writers try and put into words the feeling of contentment of being in places from another era, and the joy of discovery when they see something new about a place that’s been around for a long time.

In this issue, some of our best writers share their favourite experiences of historical places from across the world. Vedica Kant writes about the thrill of discovering fifth- and sixth-century mosaics in a town off Italy’s tourist trail. Sneha Nagesh visits the colourful garden that inspired Claude Monet’s finest work. Meeti Shroff Shah discovers all things French in Old Québec. Ramya Sriram walks through Hyderabad’s calligraphers’ quarter. Supriya Dravid explores Buenos Aires’ oldest bohemian barrio. Sidin Vadukut finds in Brighton a memorial to Indian soldiers who fought in World War I. I explore sites in downtown Manhattan from the 17th century, when it was a remote island occupied by the Dutch.

As always, we have provided trip planners so you can go on the journeys that our writers have experienced—and explore these places for yourself. As you set off on your summer vacations over the next few weeks, we wish you all the wonder, nostalgia and contentment that the places in these pages can bring you.

Giverny, France | A garden of earthly delights

Buenos Aires, Argentina | San Telmo’s lingering fire

Ravenna, Italy | The colour and the glory

Lower Manhattan, New York | In a nowhere land, a metropolis is born

Hyderabad, India | Fingersmiths with a sense of style

Old Québec, Canada | The French connection

Brighton, England | Remains of a faraway battle

Trip Planners | Short cuts