|Heyday of the Grand Tour||next|
The classical itinerary of the Grand Tour was a phenomenon of eighteenth-century Enlightenment humanism. A journey to Italy to view the remains of antiquity was considered an essential element of an upper-class education, and an extended visit to Rome was the Grand Tourist's primary objective. Many tourists and artists spent at least several months in Rome, often continuing south to Naples, a city renowned both for its beauty and for its proximity to Mount Vesuvius and the archaeological sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Paestum.
Eighteenth-century Rome hosted a sizeable international community of artists (including Germans, Danes, and Swiss). Many settled there permanently, while others came to study, either independently or at schools such as the French Academy in Rome. After their exposure to Rome's classical architecture, some of the academy's students became important figures in the neo-classical movement in revolutionary France.
Some artists traveled to Italy in the company of British aristocrats, who employed them to record the famous sites they visited. Many Italian artists also catered to foreign tourists. Pompeo Batoni grew wealthy painting portraits of British aristocrats and copies of Old Master paintings, commissioned as souvenirs by travelers. A demand for views of famous panoramas encouraged the growth of veduta painting, a genre focusing on topographical or bird's-eye views of cities (exemplified by Canaletto's views of Venice).