The Grand Tour: In the 17th and 18th Centuries the young wealthy of England and later joined by those of the US, were sent for 2 to 4 years traveling around Europe to broaden their horizons and give them a bit of culture. It became known as the Grand Tour. Probably the beginning of the tour book business and let’s not forget about the tour business.
Venice was on this route for these young aristocrats and on the tour for artists, writers of books and poetry as well. Some of the more famous visitors, indeed, sometimes adopting the city as their own and they had a few things to say.
Some of my favorite:
Truman Capote: “Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”
Tiziano Scarpa: “Getting lost is the only place worth going.”
Fran Lebowitz: “If you read a lot, nothing is as great as you’ve imagined. Venice is — Venice is better.”
Henry James: “Though there are some disagreeable things in Venice there is nothing so disagreeable as the visitors.”
Lord Byron: “I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs; / A palace and a prison on each hand.”
Peggy Guggenheim: “It is always assumed that Venice is the ideal place for a honeymoon. This is a grave error. To live in Venice or even to visit it, means that you fall in love with the city itself. There is nothing left over in your heart for anyone else.”
Anonymous: “Venice, the only place where you can get seasick by crossing the street.”
Robert Benchley: “Streets flooded. Please advise.”
Ulysses S. Grant: “Venice would be a fine city if it were only drained.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A city for beavers.”
Erica Jong in “A City of Love and Death: Venice” “But come back in November or December, in February or March, when the fog, la nebia, settles upon the city like a marvelous monster, and you will have little trouble believing that things can appear and disappear in this labyrinthine city, or that time here could easily slip in its sprockets and take you, willingly or unwillingly, back.”