Franco Maria Ricci - Grand Tour d'Europa
Between the end of the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth century, a new idea of travel began to spread through Europe. It marked the beginning of the age of travel for travel’s sake. Travelling became the end and no longer just the means to satisfy a need. People travelled in search of knowledge and learning, prompted by curiosity and the desire to make fresh discoveries, but also, and why not, for pleasure and a certain wish to escape.
This gave rise to the vogue for the “Italian journey”. The cradle of Western culture, Italy was an open-air museum, with a rich heritage of art works, a warm climate and age-old traditions that held great appeal for visitors from the north.

This type of journey which often took in other European countries as well but had Italy as its favourite, unmissable destination, became an important formative experience aspired to by young members of the European aristocracy, artists, literati, intellectuals, churchmen, scientists and soon became known as the Grand Tour.

The expression was first coined by the English writer and traveller Richard Lassels in his book The Voyage of Italy, published in 1670. This and many other attestations and happy experiences are included in Grand Tour d’Europa, published by Franco Maria Ricci Editore in collaboration with Van Cleef & Arpels and devoted to Grand Tour travels and the place they held in the collective imagination.