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Brian Sewell , Christopher Bruce  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Brian Sewell
  • Directors: Christopher Bruce
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Athena
  • DVD Release Date: August 4, 2009
  • Run Time: 386 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0024OW1I4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,842 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Famed British art critic leads the ultimate Italian adventure

In the 18th century, well-bred English gentlemen would undertake a Grand Tour of the Continent for refinement--as well as for drinking, gambling, and sexual adventures--before assuming their place in society. Now, Brian Sewell follows the footsteps of those young aristocrats through Italy, exploring the art and architecture, manners and mores that shaped European civilization.

With unmatched erudition and understated wit, this distinguished British art critic lovingly examines Italy’s grandest cultural treasures. His journey takes him through Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples, Siena, and Milan, with plenty of stops along the way. More than a mere travelogue, this fascinating series showcases the country’s dazzling cathedrals, palazzos, paintings, and sculptures while also giving insight into the travels and travails of tourists past.

Brian Sewell writes for the London Evening Standard and advises museums on three continents. His numerous awards include the Hawthornden Prize for Art Criticism and the George Orwell Prize for cultural commentary.


Julia McKenzie and Agatha Christie biography, Photo gallery, Cast filmographies


...Informative, original, and damn funny to boot. --

The new imprint Athena... this imprint specializes in documentaries, and the ones I have seen so far have been nothing short of outstanding. This label is going to go far. -- Blogger News Network

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
BRIAN SEWELL'S GRAND TOUR OF ITALY is grande indeed. TEN episodes show what the upper-teenage British nobility route that might have been taken plus the sights seen. This recreation of a "Grand Tour" trek (via car, not carriage) was researched from books and diaries left behind 300 years ago by the young men who set out to finish their education in Italy. The trip took months, a year, or more. It was designed for the gentlemen to see the best art (and purchase some), architecture, experience the Italian culture, learn the language, and experience the female "freedoms".

Over 24 cities and small towns are passed through and filmed. Beautiful. Local people open their hearts to the film viewers. Every stop is another historical moment in the lives of the Grand Tourists. Each displays paintings, architecture, and/or artifacts that can be seen up close as well as from a picturesque nearby hillside. IT IS AN ADVENTURE WITH ITALIAN PAINTING, ARCHITECTURE, RAPHAEL, TITIAN, MICHELANGELO, & an intense view of the cities of FLORENCE, ROME, AND VENICE (just to name 3).

Your filmed Grand Tour has as its guide, famous & controversial art critic, Brian Sewell. So why 4 stars, and not 5?

Sewell often rubbed me the wrong way. But he's won reviewing awards; I have not. At times I wished I could pay a few extra Euros and get a new tour guide. Perhaps one as knowledgeable as Sewell is tough finding. Honestly, there is a lot of intellectual wealth from Sewell.

What's wrong with Sewell? Often his personal taste, conservative to the n-th degree, has him putting down much Italian art, architecture, life, wine, food, etc. and using terms as "It's awful!", "Reduculous", "Awful". Sometimes he's wrong, I've been to Italy.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would love to travel with Brian Sewell August 7, 2009
This is not your typical art history tour of Italy - it is so much more fun. Sewell has so many wonderful stories of his Grand Tour as a student while he retraces his steps. How I wish I was sitting in the car next to him.

If you love Italy, Art or armchair travel in general make sure to pick this up. I spent a semester in Italy and obviously missed a lot. I was never bored and wish I had this DVD when I was a student.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Saw all the episodes on Gallery TV May 30, 2009
This is a fun & fascinating look at the Grand Tour experience of the British aristocracy as seen through the eyes of the decidedly opinionated & droll Brian Sewell. If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Sewell in action and you enjoy art history, I urge you to check out this series. I have been waiting years for this release on US-compatible DVD and am eager to watch it all over again; I can't wait to add it to my personal collection!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
My favorite type of travelogue commingled with high quality commentary on art and history laced with often intriguing personal takes on the times and customs. Brian Sewell is the perfect quirkily humorous and curmudgeonly educator and travel companion. The visual treatment of the artwork and the many destinations are as fine as I've ever seen. Whether or not you differ or agree with Sewell's judgments of the art and architecture, it is a grand tour conducted by a grand guide.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Macaroni's Progress August 5, 2013
I came across this art and architecture guide to Italy, hosted by the London Evening Standard's art critic Brian Sewell, quite by accident, and after giving it a go, I enjoyed myself so much I watched all ten episodes in nearly one go. The idea is to trace the standard eighteenth-century wealthy young Englishman's Grand Tour through Italy, conducted after his time at Oxbridge so as to give him polish and culture; starting at Turin, where he trained in swordsmanship and deportmant, he would then make a progress through the multiple duchies and principalities of the Italian peninsula, learning about the great artists (Michelangelo, Titian, Raphael, Bernini, Canova) and buying things for his estate along the way; he would visit the great architectural wonders of the peninsula (in Rome, Urbino, Bologna, Paestum, and so on), and also acquire a kind of carnal education in the fleshpots of Siena, Naples, and Venice. The series is beautifully filmed, and while it makes surprising omissions due to time constraints (we see nothing of Tinteretto or Bellini or Giorgione, for example), the documentary also makes surprising stops along the way for Brian Sewell to reminisce about his own experiences on his first Grand Tour in the 1950s and to sample products a Grand Tourist would try in Italy, such as olive oil or Parma ham. Indeed, the greatest wonder the series shows us is not the towers of San Gimignano or the caldera of Vesuvius, but Sewell himself.

Americans will not know Brian Sewell as well as Brits do: it is important to remember from the outset that this is his show (which the director, Christopher Bruce, ingeniously emphasizes), and Brian Sewell is no Sister Wendy.
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