Richard Jenkyns, Virgil's Experience. Nature and History: Times, Names, and Places
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 60:
In the Aeneid the landscape is more deeply embedded in the poem than it has ever been in narrative verse before. Among the poem's themes is man's need to fix himself; to be rooted, to be based solidly on some particular portion of the earth.
Id., p. 62 (footnotes omitted):
For several reasons, therefore, the first landfall in the poem is an essential moment. We expect Aeneas' men to be full of gladness, and sure enough they possess the beach 'magna telluris amore'. That is one of those simple Virgilian phrases that seem pregnant with a deeper significance. Its immediate sense is that the Trojans are overjoyed to be on dry land again, but behind this we hear once more that larger theme: a man's 'great love of the earth' is a fundamental part of his humanity, and goes beyond simple relief at escaping from a watery grave.