The Grand Tour was a long trip in Continental Europe made by the rich young European Aristocrats in the Seventeenth Century and intended to perfect their knowledge. This trip could last from a few months to several years. The main destinations were France, Italy and Greece.
During the Tour, the youngs learned to know the politics, culture, arts and ancient history of the European countries. They spent their time doing sightseeings, studying and purchasing local goods.
Italy, with its heritage from ancient Rome, with its monuments, became one of the most popular destination.
Many politicians and diplomats, poets and writers, but also merchants and businessmen, mainly interested in collecting, and sometimes whole families were protagonists of the Tour.
The idea of a trip as a training tool which, by comparison, develop critical awareness, originated in England and from there spread to Continental Europe and later to America. The disposition of English culture towards the empiricism, determines the preference for direct experience instead of the dogmatism of the medieval scholastic tradition.
The term “Grand Tour” appeared for the first time in 1670 in the “Voyage of Italy, or a complete journey through Italy” of Richard Lassels.
The eighteenth century saw a boom of the Grand Tour. At the end of 1700 every respectable European man of culture must have completed at least one journey in Italy.
The countryside around Rome, and especially “Castelli Romani” were much appreciated by this host of travelers. Many of great artists who hosted in Castelli Romani stayed in the “Locanda Martorelli” in Ariccia. Among them there were G.M.Guglielmo Turner, A.Richter, G.F.Overbeck, G.C.Andersen, E.Longfellow, Ibsen, Ivanov, Corot, Stendhal, M.D’Azeglio, Taddeo Kuntze………..Until March 25th museums of Alban and Prenestini hills host the exhibition of the Grand Tour………………to be continued