Travel in the 17th and 18th Centuries

William Edward Mead writes in "The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century,"

Hostile Alps
As is well known, the taste of travelers before the middle of the eighteenth century did not much incline toward rough and precipitous scenery, but toward the softer beauties of the verdant plain, the quiet lake, and the mossy dell (Mead 255).
Gradually, tastes changed. In the closing years of the eighteenth century English tourists, encouraged by the descriptions of fellow tourists who had defied popular tastes and traveled through the Alps merely for the sake of the scenery, and influenced by the evolving attitude toward nature, flocked to the Alps to appreciate its beauty.

And so the perception of the Alps changed in the eighteenth century from that of a "gloomy, frowning, oppressive, and a disfigurement of the landscape" (mead 256), to one more attune to the wonder and beauty of nature.

Subsequently, the Alps were included in the itinerary of the Grand Tour.

Inspirational and beautiful Alps
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Copyright 2002: History 257 - Mount Holyoke College
This page was created by
Lee Haviland.