GRAND TOUR. Sogno d'Italia da Venezia a Pompei

GRAND TOUR: sogno d'Italia da Venezia a Pompei. GRAND TOUR Dream of Italy from Venice to Pompeii: connecting Italy and beauty through the story of 130 works by the protagonists of the Grand Tour

GRAND TOUR. Sogno d'Italia da Venezia a Pompei opens at the Gallerie d'Italia in Milan's Piazza della Scala. It is the first exhibition conceived and inaugurated in Italy capable of offering an overall view of such a vast topic.

GRAND TOUR. Sogno d'Italia da Venezia a Pompei presents around 130 works from the Intesa Sanpaolo collection, private collections and several Italian and international cultural institutions. Two works have also been loaned from the United Kingdom, from the Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth II, in addition to other works from great royal residences, including the Royal Palaces of Versailles, Caserta and Pavlovsk, in St. Petersburg.

The Grand Tour, undertaken by wealthy aristocrats from the 17th century onwards to broaden their knowledge, was a particularly extensive "tour" that passed through various countries in Western Europe, including Italy, which was one of its essential stops.

In Italy, the classic itinerary of the Grand Tour could not fail to visit a number of cities including:

Venice, for the wealth of works that the city offered

Venice, for the wealth of works that the city offered; Vicenza, for its Palladian villas; and Florence, for its churches and the Medici Galleries.

One of the main destinations of the Grand Tour was Rome, where the rich aristocrats went to study the secrets and the canons of beauty, found in the marble works and in the masterpieces of the Renaissance and of the 17th century Classicism.

Another popular Italian destination on the Grand Tour was Campania, where travellers came to rediscover the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD., and Paestum, where it was possible to admire Doric temples at a time when travel to Greece, still under Ottoman rule, was forbidden.

The Grand Tour gave a new impetus to painting and, in particular, to the genres of the portrait - commissioned to a well-known painter of the time and which depicted the protagonist alongside the monuments and the ancient sculptures admired during the trip to Italy - and of the view or landscape, considered a minor genre.

Thanks to the Grand Tour, Italy became the largest market for works inspired by antiquity, and one of the main exponents of this genre was Piranesi, whose influence gave new impetus to the revival of artistic manufacture, reaching levels equal to those of the Renaissance.

Sculpture re-emerged in this period as well, starting from the trade in antique marbles to their restoration, including the production of copies, of which Cavaceppi was the main exponent. Moreover, towards the end of the 18th century, thanks to Canova sculpture became one of the most important artistic genres in Italy.

The exhibition GRAND TOUR. Sogno d'Italia da Venezia a Pompei, under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic, in partnership with the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg and the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, is curated by Fernando Mazzocca with Stefano Grandesso and Francesco Leone, and will be open until 22 March 2022.