Grand Tour

The Grand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational rite of passage. Though primarily associated with the British nobility and wealthy landed gentry, similar trips were made by wealthy young men of Protestant Northern European nations on the Continent, and from the second half of the 18th century some South American, U.S., and other overseas youth joined in. The tradition was extended to include more of the middle class after rail and steamship travel made the journey less of a burden, and Thomas Cook made the "Cook's Tour" a byword.

The New York Times recently described the Grand Tour in this way:

The primary value of the Grand Tour, it was believed, lay in the exposure both to the cultural legacy of classical antiquity and the Renaissance, and to the aristocratic and fashionably polite society of the European continent. In addition, it provided the only opportunity to view specific works of art, and possibly the only chance to hear certain music. A grand tour could last from several months to several years. It was commonly undertaken in the company of a Cicerone, a knowledgeable guide or tutor. The Grand Tour had more than superficial cultural importance; as E.P. Thompson opined, "ruling-class control in the 18th century was located primarily in a cultural hegemony, and only secondarily in an expression of economic or physical (military) power."

In essence the Grand Tour was neither a scholar's pilgrimage nor a religious one, though a pleasurable stay in Venice and a cautious residence in Rome were essential. Catholic Grand Tourists followed the same routes as Protestant Whigs. Since the 17th century a tour to such places was also considered essential for budding young artists to understand proper painting and sculpture techniques, though the trappings of the Grand Tour— valets and coachmen, perhaps a cook, certainly a "bear-leader" or scholarly guide— were beyond their reach. The advent of popular guides, such as the Richardsons', did much to popularize such trips, and following the artists themselves, the elite considered travel to such centres as necessary rites of passage. For gentlemen, some works of art were essential to demonstrate the breadth and polish they had received from their tour: in Rome antiquaries like Thomas Jenkins provided access to private collections of antiquities, among which enough proved to be for sale that the English market raised the price of such things, as well as for coins and medals, which formed more portable souvenirs and a respected gentleman's guide to ancient history. Pompeo Batoni made a career of painting English milordi posed with graceful ease among Roman antiquities. Many continued on to Naples, where they viewed Herculaneum and Pompeii, but few ventured far into southern Italy and fewer still to Greece, still under Turkish rule.

Read more about Grand Tour:  History, Travel Itinerary, Published Accounts, On Television

Other articles related to "grand tour":

Grand Tour - On Television
... In 2009, the Grand Tour featured prominently in a PBS miniseries based on the novel Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens ... attention to detail, and in settings, mainly Venice, it portrayed the Grand Tour as an essential ritual for entry to English high society ... Kevin McCloud presented Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour on Channel 4 during the late summer and early autumn of 2009 ...
Esper Ukhtomsky - Rising Fame and The Grand Tour
... selected to accompany the Tsesarevich Nicholas on his Grand tour to the East ... He also began work on his account of the grand tour, entitled Travels in the East of Nicholas II ...
Mozart Family Grand Tour - Grand Tour - Homeward Journey (March–November 1766)
... The only surviving music composed by Wolfgang during this Paris visit is his Kyrie in F major, K. 33, his first attempt to write formal church music ...
Rambles In Germany And Italy - Genre - History of The Travel Narrative
... Over the course of the eighteenth century, the Grand Tour became increasingly popular ... The Grand Tour was celebrated as educational travel when it involved exchanging scientific information with the intellectual elite, learning about other cultures, and preparing ... was closed to British travellers and the Grand Tour came under increasing criticism, particularly from radicals such as Mary Shelley's father, William Godwin, who scorned its aristocratic associations ...
An Evening With Jerry Herman - Songs
... (Reprise) (from Mack and Mabel) I Belong Here (from The Grand Tour) Mrs ... Jacobowsky (from The Grand Tour) I'll Be Here Tomorrow (from The Grand Tour) La Cage aux Folles (from La Cage Aux Folles) Song on the Sand (from La ...

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