The geographical setting of A Room with a View is not merely a backdrop of the novel's events, but rather a driving force for everything that takes place in each of the novel's halves. It is necessary for the first part to take place in Italy, as the unfamiliar environment, culture, and language sets essential character development and character relationships in motion. Similarly, it is necessary for the second part to take place in England, as it gives the reader the chance to see everything that was set in motion in Italy now unfolding in a familiar environment. Forster repeatedly suggests throughout the novel that Lucy had to go to Italy to come into herself and eventually gain true agency over her life. Italy has an anarchic effect on Lucy's inner and outer lives; in England, she puts the pieces back together in a way that is informed by her time abroad.
Within each of these broader geographical settings, the characters move between smaller settings: from city to countryside, from built environment to nature. In Italy, the rural alternative to Florence is a hillside above Fiesole. In England, the suburban alternative to London is the fictional village of Summer Street (and the natural alternative to Summer Street is the Sacred Lake). Similar to how Forster suggests that disorder and change are made possible by the Italian setting, it appears that emotional awareness and release are only possible in nature, when the characters are free from society's scrutiny and constraints.
The temporal setting of the Edwardian period is similarly imperative for the novel's events and characters. Forster, the narrator, the characters, and the reader are aware—in their own limited ways—of the effect that the time period has on the novel's events. Following the relatively long Victorian period, the brief Edwardian period acted as a sort of bridge into modernity for England. This in-betweenness is somewhat evident to the characters themselves, as they often talk of their changing times and refer deferentially or wistfully to Queen Victoria. At the same time, however, the characters have a number of blind spots and often seem unable to recognize the conservatism and hypocrisy that the Victorian period has left them with. This is especially true for Cecil, Charlotte, the Miss Alans, and Mrs. Honeychurch, who cling firmly to tradition and propriety. As outsiders, Mr. Emerson and George Emerson are the novel's modern characters, and they actively embrace a new way of living in and conceiving of the world. Lucy is caught between these two camps. Among the driving questions of the novel, a central one seems to ask whether Lucy will prove herself to be a so-called "medieval lady" or a modern woman.