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Italy on the Grand Tour

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What was the Grand Tour?

Experience the Grand Tour

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People of the Grand Tour
We know many of the people who undertook the Grand Tour through the portraits that they brought home with them. Like a modern snapshot, these paintings served as mementos of a trip to Italy, while at the same time showing off the sitter’s taste and wealth. On the Grand Tour, networking was everything. The new generation of statesmen, scholars, and patrons from all over Europe met in Italy. With the right connections, you might have been invited to the home of a private collector like Sir William Hamilton, British ambassador to Naples from 1764 to 1800.

A Landscape with Shepherds Resting Under a Tree by a Cascade
Paintings, prints, and drawings also captured the people of Italy at work and play. Although these images offer a glimpse of life in 18th-century Italy, they were often idealized, with peasants and the urban poor becoming part of the picturesque scenery enjoyed by elite visitors.
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Portrait of John, Lord Mountstuart Landscape with Travelers
Portrait of John Chetwynd Talbot

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