The views of the Grand Tour

From January 2019

How did the Colosseum, the Arch of Titus or the Valley of the Forum appear to the eyes of a traveller in past centuries? This fascinating question led to the itinerary of the “Grand Tour of the Park”, which will enable visitors to compare the current view with the panorama that could be admired by travellers between the late 16th and 19th centuries, as they travelled through Italy and stayed above all in Rome to enrich their cultural development.

The Colosseum, the Arch of Titus, the Valley of the Forum, or — as it was called at the time — the Campo Vaccino are now presented to visitors through the works of leading European artists of the past, such as Van Wittel, Canaletto , Piranesi, Turner and Corot. These artists were inspired by the “antiquities” to create works of the highest level, intended as souvenirs for the educated and wealthy travellers of the time.

The route is divided into different points of interest displaying the same views that were admired by travellers on the Grand Tour, with illustrations accompanied by brief informative texts. The selection of works presented in this itinerary starts in the late 16th century and continues until the second half of the 19th, as evidence of the new flows of travellers on the Grand Tour in the late 19th century, particularly from the United States.

Most of the views, designed with both a landscape interest and more in detail to illustrate the antiquities, concentrate on the valley of the Forum. But clearly we cannot fail to note the artists’ interest in the supreme Roman icon, identified in the collective imagination with the idea of Rome itself: the Colosseum.

Schematic map of point of interest.


The guide, published by Electa, is on sale at the bookshops of the Park.


Roman Forum: comparison between the painting by Antonio Joli (1745) and the current view.