TheGrand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational rite of passage. Though primarily associated with the British nobility and wealthy landed gentry, similar trips were made by wealthy young men of Protestant Northern European nations on the Continent, and from the second half of the 18th century some South American, U.S., and other overseas youth joined in. The tradition was extended to include more of the middle class after rail and steamship travel made the journey less of a burden, and Thomas Cook made the "Cook's Tour" a byword.
The Grand Tour not only provided a liberal education but allowed those who could afford it the opportunity to buy things otherwise unavailable at home, and it thus increased participants' prestige and standing. Grand Tourists would return with crates of art, books, pictures, sculpture, and items of culture, which would be displayed in libraries, cabinets, gardens, and drawing rooms, as well as the galleries built purposely for their display; • The Grand Tour became a symbol of wealth and freedom. • Here is a typical itinerary of Grand Tour
The primary destination of the Grand Tour was Italy, with it’s heritage of ancient Roman monuments. 18th-century taste revered the art and culture of the ancients. The British, in particular, were lured to Italy by their admiration of antiquity and their desire to see firsthand such monuments of ancient civilization as the Colosseum in Rome, and such wonders of nature as the volcanic eruptions of Mount Vesuvius, near Naples.
Goethe declared:“I have forgiven all those who lose their minds for this city ... it will never be completely unhappy who can return,in thought,in Naples.” 
Towards the end of the eighteenth century Naples was about four hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants and was, therefore, after London and Paris, the third largest city in the European order of magnitude. Naples, then, is the largest city that Goethe had the opportunity to visit over his entire life.Goethe says: "If you study in Rome with pleasure, in Naples you do not want to live, one forgets oneself and the universe."
What distinguished the capital of the Kingdom of Naples from other European cities such as London or Paris was the character of the people, the fact that Goethe with his traveling companion Tischbein had chosen to live in a popular quarter of the city rather than in the district for foreigners noble and refined, near Chiaia, allows the poet to better observe the life of the Neapolitans and particularly the Lazzaroni".
Naples at the end of XVII century: • Largo di Palazzo (piazza del Plebiscito)
Goethe and the Vesuvius. • In the eighteenth century the ascent of Vesuvius was part of the core curriculum of stay in Naples. The poet went up three times on the mountain surprising is the fact that the trips took place all day, even if the climbing was generally undertaken at night.
Vesuvius on the Grand Tour • A little remembered active period of Vesuvius, beginning in the 17th century and lasting into the early 19th century made the volcano a dramatic stop on The Grand Tour. The relatively benign eruptive phase during the height of Grand Tour travel enabled many visitors to view the spectacle of a volcanic eruption claiming vineyards on the slopes of the volcano. The erie upward glow of the lava flows at night provided a memorable sight that was painted by more than one artist.
The third ascent of Vesuvius, March 20, 1787 was certainly the most productive. The poet was finally able to attend an eruption. • Goethe told «March 2, 1787...In spite of the inclement weather and the clouds lurking on the summit, I went up Vesuvius today. I went to Resina by carriage and started up the mountain by mule, passing through vineyards as I rode. I then walked across the 1771 lava flow, which already showed a growth of tough moss, and then continued up along the edge of the lava flow» T
«The ash-cone of the volcano was two-thirds concealed by clouds, and it was a difficult climb. I finally came to the old crater, which is blocked now, and then to more recent lava flows from two months ago, two weeks ago and even one that was only five days old. That one had not been a strong flow and was already cool. I went across and up through the recent ash that was still giving off fumes. The fumes were drifting away from me, so I went ahead to try to reach the crater. After 50 paces, I could barely see my shoes through all the dense fumes. I had a handkerchief over my mouth, but it was useless. I could no longer see my guide and it was unsteady going over the bits of recent lava.»
Pozzuoli • Goethe also had seen in Pozzuoli the Monte Nuovo, a volcanic crater arose for the eruption that occurred in the “Campi Phlegrei"(” Phlegraean Fields”) in 1538. He described as the "dear homeland" of the Greek-Latin civilisation, which made Goethe say :"Here one is amazed by the events of history and nature ". The Phlegraean Fields are a vast, complex group of extinct craters, which erupted fragmentary material, in minimum part lava