The Grand Tour in Italy

Melina Mardueño

As interest in the classical past surged in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, more and more Europeans began to see the value of travel throughout Europe to experience antiquity and its influence first-hand.   By the eighteenth century, the Grand Tour had become an essential part of any European intellectual’s education. Artists, architects, art historians, scientists, and aristocrats were among the kinds of people that would attend.  Although most tourists would travel throughout Europe, Italy was considered the ultimate destination due to the preponderance of its classical remains.  Additionally, the classical world in the mid-eighteenth century resurfaced in the European imaginary, even inspiring the neoclassical style, due to archaeological discoveries like Pompeii and the excavations of the ruins outside Rome. Art historian Jeremy Black explains why these discoveries made Italy the most popular destination.