The Sinner's Grand Tour
A Journey Through the Historical Underbelly of Europe
The Grand Tour: the cultural rite of passage from London to Paris, Berlin, Venice, Florence, Rome, and down to the boot of Italy, which linked the Continent’s most spectacular artistic treasures
Sex and travel have always been intertwined, and never more so than on the classic Grand Tour of Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today the Continent is still littered with salacious remnants of that golden age, where secret boudoirs, notorious dungeons, and forbidden artifacts lured travelers all the way from London to Capri.
In The Sinner’s Grand Tour, celebrated historian and travel writer Tony Perrottet sets off to discover a string of legendary sites and relics that are still kept far from public view. In southern France, an ancient text leads him inside the château of the Marquis de Sade, now owned by fashion icon Pierre Cardin. In Paris, an 1883 prostitute guide helps him discover the Belle Époque fantasy brothel Le Chabanais and the lost “sex chair” of King Edward VII. Renaissance documents in the Vatican Secret Archives point the way to the Pope’s very own apartments in Vatican City, wherein lies the fabled Stufetta del Bibbiena, a pornography-covered bathroom painted by Raphael in 1516.
With his unique blend of original research, sharp wit, and hilarious anecdotes, Perrottet brings us a romping travel adventure through the scandalous backrooms of historical Europe.
- Crown/Archetype, May 2011
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