Culture-loving Rob Rinder and architecture enthusiast Rylan are set to embark on an exciting adventure as they follow in the footsteps of 19th-century romantic poet Lord Byron and other renowned Grand Tourists. The dynamic duo will immerse themselves in the art, culture, bad behaviour, and life-changing exploits of historic Brits abroad in their upcoming television series, “Rob and Rylan’s Grand Tour” (working title).
In this captivating travelogue, Rob and Rylan, known for their shared love for the finer things in life, will explore the artistic treasures of Italy while simultaneously discovering more about themselves. They aim to retrace the paths taken by numerous English aristocrats who embarked on the original gap year, leaving behind the constraints of British society to seek freedom and enlightenment abroad. The question remains: Can the Grand Tour still weave its magic in the modern era?
Commemorating the 200th anniversary of Byron’s death, Rob and Rylan will draw inspiration from the poet’s extensive collection of poems and letters, as well as the diaries of other notable travellers, to guide them on their journey. With Italy as their playground, they will set out to witness the country’s finest offerings in terms of art and culture. Rob expresses his anticipation, stating, “Italy is so rich in art and culture, and I can’t wait to dive right in and witness some of the country’s most remarkable treasures. The Grand Tour is iconic, especially as we follow in the footsteps of some of history’s greatest cultural contributors. I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather undertake this journey with than Rylan.”
Rylan, equally thrilled about the adventure, adds, “When I discovered that Rob and I would be travelling around Italy for the Grand Tour, I couldn’t have packed my suitcase faster. However, we won’t be your typical Brits abroad; instead, we will completely immerse ourselves in all of Italy’s cultural offerings. Rob will enlighten me about Italian history and art, while we follow in the footsteps of the cultural giants. In return, I’ll show Rob how to dance on bars. This series promises to be enlightening, intriguing, and undoubtedly filled with laughter.”
Alistair Pegg, the commissioning editor for Arts at the BBC, expresses his excitement about the upcoming series, stating, “I can’t think of two more humorous, affable, and entertaining companions to take us on a journey through the splendours of the Grand Tour than Rob and Rylan. Viewers can expect a completely fresh perspective on the wonders of Italian art and culture in their hands, and I eagerly anticipate this journey with them.”
The adventure kicks off in Venice, where Rob and Rylan will delve into the city’s artistic masterpieces, ranging from the works of Tintoretto to Canaletto. They will also explore how gay men in the 18th century found freedom during the renowned Venice Carnival. Additionally, the duo will get their hands dirty as they learn Venetian painting techniques and the art of glass blowing.
Continuing their journey in Florence, often referred to as the cradle of the Renaissance, Rob and Rylan will immerse themselves in the extraordinary sights the city has to offer. From the magnificent Duomo to the ethereal beauty of Botticelli’s Venus, not to mention the iconic sculpture of David, they will be captivated by the city’s cultural richness.
Their final destination is Rome, the centrepiece of the original Grand Tour and the vibrant heart of classical civilisation. Here, Rob and Rylan will explore awe-inspiring classical ruins, recreate dramatic Baroque masterpieces, and unleash their inner operatic divas during a breathtaking rooftop performance.
Throughout their journey, Rob and Rylan will unravel the true essence of being a Grand Tourist, from experimenting with flamboyant ‘macaroni’ fashion (the nickname given to Englishmen who adopted flamboyant Italian attire) to partake in activities such as fencing, dancing, and even engaging in a bit of romance, reminiscent of the 18th-century travellers.
“Rob and Rylan’s Grand Tour” (working title) will consist of three 60-minute episodes and is being produced by Rex. Lana Salah and Dominique Walker serve as the executive producers, with Alistair Pegg, the Commissioning Editor for BBC Arts, overseeing the project. Brace yourself for a captivating, enlightening, and undoubtedly entertaining journey as Rob and Rylan take you on a unique exploration of Italy’s cultural treasures.