they sought the pleasant climate of Italy
Whether Mary Shelley, in framing her revisions, intended to give her novel a geographical symmetry by placing an Italian sojourn in the early part of Victor's narrative to balance that of Safie and her father at its absolute center (1831:II:14:12) can be only a matter of conjecture. It is consistent, however, with the strong structural patterning of the novel. By 1831, of course, she might simply have decided to translate her own experience into the rewriting of the novel, for it was certainly the case that she and Percy Bysshe Shelley sought Italy in 1818, just months after the publication of Frankenstein, ostensibly for reasons of health.
One consequence of the considerable emendation made to this first chapter of Victor's narrative is to emphasize how well off his family is. To see the sights of Italy is one thing; to make a leisurely tour of the country, then extend the excursion to take in France and Germany, requires substantial means as well as leisure. In the 1818 text the Frankensteins were respected members of their community; by 1831 they have assumed something of the trappings of aristocracy.