The Grand Tour was a route with various stops, required by young aristocrats to complete their university education. From 1400 onwards, it spread rapidly throughout Europe to encourage contact between students and the main European courts through educational trips.
Italy immediately represented the centre of European cultural and artistic life, and hosted a large number of young foreigners during the Renaissance. Initially, the most visited cities were Rome, Florence, Milan and Turin, and it was not customary to go any further south than Naples, at least until the 17th century, when Sicily and its historical and artistic natural beauty also became part of the Grand Tour.
During their journeys, travellers would observe the island from different points of view: from the historical-anthropological analysis to the landscape, to which a scholar’s emotions and theses or an artist’s reproductions would be added. This made it possible to reconstruct a rather detailed image of 18th-century Sicily.
Other not-so-young travellers were attracted by the beauty described in Sicily, one of the most important being Johann Wolfgang von Goethe .