Grand Tour of Europe

EVENT CENTRIC has recently been asked to set up and launch the Grand Tour of Europe, an exciting new project in luxury travel and tourism.

In the 18th Century, wealthy young English gentlemen frequently undertook an extended tour of continental Europe as part of the process of developing their sartorial, social and cultural awareness and sensibilities. The Grand Tour had its birth here and at this time, since Britain was the wealthiest nation in the world and had developed a large upper class with both the time and the money to travel.

The itinerary of the Grand Tour was not fixed. During the 18th century the focus was on Paris, and then on the Italian cities of Venice, Florence, Rome, and Naples. For those who could not afford a long journey (for reasons of time, money or both) a simple tour to Paris and the Low Countries could be undertaken. But for the Grand Tour proper a visit to Italy had to made, and the traveller would visit Turin (and sometimes Milan) then Florence (with an excursion to Pisa), moving on to Padua, Bologna and Venice - the last city being at the heart of the Grand Tour. From Venice the traveller could go on to Rome and might also visit Naples to study music, and (after their discovery in the mid-18th century) to appreciate the sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii, possibly even climbing Mount Vesuvius if he was particularly adventurous. After Italy, a route north over the Alps could lead to Innsbruck, Vienna, Dresden, Berlin and Potsdam, with perhaps some time to study at the universities in Munich or Heidelberg - maybe even venturing onwards to the new Russian capital of St Petersburg. And to the east lay the mysteries of the Orient and Istanbul. Finally returning west, Holland and Flanders (with their opportunities for visiting many art galleries) could be included in the journey home via the Channel.

In addition to its educational outcomes, the Grand Tour provided those who could afford it with the opportunity to buy things otherwise unavailable at home, and it thus increased participants' prestige and standing. Grand Tourists returned home with crates of art, books, pictures, sculpture and other items of culture. These would be displayed in libraries, cabinets, gardens, and drawing rooms, as well as the galleries built purposely for their display. Others returned with new architectural ideas or craft techniques – and thus the Grand Tour became a symbol of both wealth and freedom.

Find out about The Grand Tour of Europe – Today