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Learn more about the Grand Tour

Travel Memoirs
The travel memoir was a popular literary genre in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many were illustrated, often by the author. In addition to the memoirs listed here, see the books featured on this website by Dominique Vivant Denon, Henry James, Edward Lear, Thomas Roscoe, and Edith Wharton.

Denon, Dominique Vivant. Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt. London: Printed for T.N. Longman and O. Rees; and Richard Phillips, by T. Gillet, 1803.

Edwards, Amelia Ann Blanford. A Thousand Miles Up the Nile. London: Longmans Green & Co., 1877.

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Italian Journey. Trans. W. H. Auden and Elizabeth Mayer. First published 1816-1817. London: Penguin Books, 1962.

Swinburne, Henry. Travels Through Spain in the Years 1775 and 1776. London: Printed for P. Elmsly, 1779.

Twain, Mark. The Innocents Abroad. First published 1869. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.


Historical Travel Guides
Murray’s and Baedecker’s were the classic guidebooks used by English-speaking travelers in the nineteenth century. These series included guides to most European countries and regions, as well as to North Africa and the Middle East. A guidebook by Thomas Martyn is also featured on this website.

Ford, Richard. A Hand-Book for Travellers in Spain, and Readers at Home. Vol. III. First published 1845. Edited and with an introduction by Ian Robertson. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1966.

Gilpin, William. Observations on the River Wye, and Several Parts of South Wales, &c. Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty: Made in the Summer of the Year 1770. First published 1782. London: Pallas Athene, 2005.


Exhibition Catalogues
Many museums have developed exhibitions exploring the Grand Tour. Some recent exhibition catalogues can be found here.

Bowron, Edgar Peters, and Joseph J. Rishel, eds. Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century. London: Merrell, in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000.

The Golden Age of Naples: Art and Civilization Under the Bourbons, 1734–1805. Detroit: Detroit Institute of Arts, with The Art Institute of Chicago, 1981.

Lyons, Claire L. et al. Antiquity and Photography: Views of Ancient Mediterranean Sites. Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005.

Stebbins, Theodore E., Jr., ed. The Lure of Italy: American Artists and the Italian Experience, 1760–1914. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, in association with Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1992.

Tromans, Nicholas, ed. The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting. London: Tate Publishing, 2008.

Wilton, Andrew, and Ilaria Bignamini, eds. Grand Tour: The Lure of Italy in the Eighteenth Century. London: Tate Gallery, 1996.


Travel and Art History
Art historians study travel and the Grand Tour to better understand the social and cultural contexts of Western art in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The following books provide a useful overview.

Andrews, Malcolm. The Search for the Picturesque: Landscape Aesthetics and Tourism in Britain, 1760–1800. Aldershot, England: Scolar Press, 1989.

Bermingham, Ann. Learning to Draw: Studies in the Cultural History of a Polite and Useful Art. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000.

Chard, Chloe, and Helen Langdon, eds. Transports: Travel, Pleasure, and Imaginative Geography, 1600–1830. Studies in British Art 3. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996.

MacKenzie, John. Orientalism: History, Theory and the Arts. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1995.



Metropolitan Museum of Art
Timeline of Art History

This site provides general information about the Grand Tour, illustrated with works from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection.

Sam’s Grand Tour 2005
Whereas eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travelers recorded their journeys in diaries and published travel memoirs, today’s travelers are just as likely to blog about their trips. This blog focuses on the concept of the historical Grand Tour as a framework for modern travel.

The Frugal Traveler
In the summer of 2008, Matt Gross, author of the “Frugal Traveler” blog on the New York Times website, embarked on a thirteen-week Grand Tour of Europe. Although his travels had roots in the classic Grand Tour of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, he largely reinvented the itinerary and concept of the Grand Tour, reflecting twenty-first-century sensibilities.

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