Every year Bocconi welcomes many international students from all over the globe who choose Milan as their home for the university period or for an exchange semester. All these students are eager to travel and make as many experiences as possible. This article wants to be a source of suggestion for them, providing tips on what to visit during their stay. Moreover, the article also provides information on the ongoing exhibition “Grand Tour, dream of Italy from Venice to Pompei” visitable until the 27th of March.
Every year our alma mater Bocconi welcomes many international students from all over the globe who choose Milan as their home for the university period or for an exchange semester. All these students, who we encounter every day on our campus, are eager to travel and
to make as many experiences as possible during their stay in Italy. Where should I go? What should I visit? What is a great destination for the break? These are questions that reverberate all over the university.
However, there is no need to panic! A helpful guide comes from history, when the same doubts were faced by
the travelers of the past. Students can indeed take inspiration by what in the 18th and 19th century was commonly known as the “Grand Tour”, a fascinating and marvelous journey taken by European aristocrats, artists and literates to discover the wonders of the Old Continent. This fundamental experience for a young person of that period had its core in Italy, which was greatly admired for its classical heritage, baroque richness and natural splendor.
Men of letters like Goethe and Shelley, painters such as Anton Raphael Mengs and Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun and future statesmen like William Coke and Ludwig I of Bavaria spent months in itineraries across the Italian peninsula. The desire to learn as much as possible from the experience and to fully discover the treasures of the country led travelers to design long and exhaustive plans with stages in almost all the regions.
Voyagers desired to visit the most iconic cities: Rome, the eternal city and the heart of Christianity, Florence, the capital of the Renaissance, Venice, the lagoon city celebrated for its parties and its famous carnival and finally Naples, known for its bustle. In these urban centers, they also commissioned or bought portraits, landscape views and souvenirs to bring back home memories from the travel.
The grand tour was also an important journey of formation and, therefore, the numerous legacies of the ancient world represented sought-after destinations. Pompei, Herculaneum, Paestum and the valley of the temples in Sicily could not be left outside of the itinerary in a historical context in which the excitement over antiquity was widespread and the Greco-Roman civilization was regarded as the model to look at.
Artists and writers also drew inspiration from the luxuriant nature of the Italian territory. Lake Como, the Alps, and especially the Mediterranean charm of Sicily were the subjects of paintings and poems. Moreover, in the framework of Romanticism, painters tried to capture the power of nature in waterfalls, sea storms and volcanic eruptions, leaving to the future generations priceless pieces of art.
So, if you are tired of hours spent in the bunker or library, you can easily organize a nice trip following the steps of the first modern tourists in the 18th and 19th century. Overall, even after all these years, their suggestions are still valid, and you only need to get ready for the adventure!
If, instead, you are fascinated by the grand tour, but unfortunately unable to travel due to the upcoming exam session or forced to stay in Milan by the constraints of a student budget, don’t lose hope! Milan is hosting until the 27th of March 2022 the art exhibition “Grand Tour, dream of Italy from Venice to Pompei”. The exhibition is taking place in the magnificent setting of Gallerie D’Italia, one of the main cultural institutions of the city, located in the heart of Milan, just some steps from Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
As a student, for the discounted price of 5 euros, you will be able to immerse yourself in the past, in a world of classical antiquities, extravagant furnishings and timeless pieces of art. The works on display, coming from different Italian and foreign collections, try to recreate the atmosphere of the grand tour, leaving the visitor with a feeling of awe and magnificence at the phenomenon.