The Grand tour was a traditional journey for young gentlemen to take during the 17th and 18th century upon coming of age. At around 21 years, the nobility of England would polish off their aristocratic education with a long voyage around Europe after finishing university.
This Grand Tour would take them through Italy and France in a search of art, culture and the roots of western civilisation. During the months or years of travel the young nobility would use their unlimited means and connections to experience the finest of what Europe had to offer while perfecting their language skills and mingling with the upper class of Europe.
For those of us who weren’t born into an aristocratic family in the 18th century, it is likely that our vacations or gap year lacked a little of the “grandness” we can imagine of centuries past.
However in our age, travelling has become much easier and comfortable, so that many people have traveled more than the wealthy elite of the past.
During Covid our possibilities of travelling have been reduced greatly, some are even confined to their homes. However perhaps modern technology can offer us a way to take a virtual grand tour to the cultural centres of the world from the comfort of our homes.
Let's start the trip in London at the national gallery founded in 1824. This world renowned museum houses masterpieces from the last millennium but has taken steps to digitalise their collection for a global audience of art lovers. On their website you can look closely at the finest brushstrokes on the high definition photos of the key pieces. On their YouTube site you can learn about everything from individual artists to techniques of conservation.
To experience the cuisine of Paris Netflix just launched a documentary about the pastry chef of the Ritz hotel called “The chef in the truck”. Here you can experience a master of traditional sweets being forced to update his vision in Los Angeles. Most likely, these dishes are too advanced to try successfully at home, but they are sure to inspire you to either buy or make something sweet.
The last traditional stop of the grand tour was Italy, where young stylish gentlemen could spend a long time exploring the art of the renaissance and the fashion of the day. To experience the city of masks, a book called “The stones of Venice” was written by John Ruskin in 1851 describing the architecture and art of this most special city.
For a more contemporary experience you can take a visual tour of the vatican city on their website. It is very rare to have the opportunity to see everything up close and to be alone in the Sistine Chapel.
If you would like to take your virtual travels further than was possible just a few years ago you can have a look at the Mars Rover project. NASA has made their data available and you can have a virtual view of how Mars looks. To be fair, this destination was not always included as a part of the grand tour, but it is interesting enough to be included in this article.
The young aristocrats would enjoy all the luxury of their time while visiting these famous places. At the moment they are available to us, but only digitally or through books. However, we can still look back with wonder while we imagine these men of privilege ordering Neapolitan tailoring while drinking whiskey sours from lemons from Sicily.
You can see that during the days of the Grand Tour, style and dressing impeccably was of utmost importance to these fine gentleman. At 3DM Lifestyle, we embrace the preservation of such fine style and elegance which is the character we try to capture in all of our footwear.