In the middle of the seventeenth century, upper-middle-class Europeans began to set out on what was known as “the grand tour,” which was more of a rite of passage for young men than a tour. The young noblemen, who were mainly British, searched the continent of Europe for the pleasures that could be had far away from their austere lives in England. At first, they focused on Paris and later ventured farther afield to Venice, Rome, and finally Naples. 
They studied art and culture and spent time with professional women. Indeed, once the grand tour reached Naples, the number of women waiting to service the young travelers exploded. Many contracted venereal diseases there, which gave a new meaning to Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe’s famous phrase: “to see Naples and die.” The grand tour gave rise to the first printed travel guides, as well as the profession of the tour guide who showed people around cultural and ancient sites.




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