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The Grand Tour

1069 of 1170 nominations

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The Grand Tour

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The Grand Tour

As far back as the sixteenth century it became fashionable for wealthy young men to “finish” their education by taking a first hand look at the cultures they had learned about in books. Visits to Paris, Venice, Florence and Rome were essential but they also travelled to Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Greece and some as far afield as Turkey. Travel on this scale was very hard work, expensive and time consuming. Even so, later on young women did take the tour, accompanied, of course, by a trusted chaperone.

The heyday of the Grand Tour was the late eighteenth century. The exposure of all these young aristocrats to European arts and architecture had many consequences back in England. They re-designed their homes according to the architectural styles they had seen abroad and the souvenirs they returned with became the must-haves of the day. To satisfy those who had could not do the travelling themselves, English craftsmen began to do a nice line in reproductions. Wedgwood, for example, made a fortune with his jasper reproductions of the famous “Portland Vase”. As these were the days before photography, some people commissioned artists to travel with them and paint the things they saw along the way. So this social phenomenon can be seen as the birth of modern tourism, but would you say it's iconic?

Image: Topfoto.co.uk

NOMINATION 1069 OF 1170

Your comments

It may be something that happens somewhere else, but really it's all about back home.

The Grand Tour


The Grand Tour isn't getting the credit it deserves. The trips the learned youths of England took had dramatic effects of the direction of England as well as its tastes and appearence. It is through trips like these that the English gained such a reputation as great travelers around the world. It gave England the international awareness that few if any other countries posess. Even today English travellers are accepted everywhere, mostly because chances are, there have been many Englishman there before them.
Adrian Barry


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I nominate the English weather.

PETER FAREY

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