Following the emotional wave provoked by the first sensational discoveries at Pompeii and Herculaneum in the mid-eighteenth century, a growing number of travellers from Europe came to Italy to admire the vestiges of the past. Thanks to the sensitivity of the Bourbon kings, the cities buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD were brought back to the light, along with their beautiful paintings, images of a world that was believed to have disappeared forever. The Grand Tour, the journey to discover ancient Italian sites, was a real cultural movement, which developed alongside the emergence of neoclassicism in literature and art. Antiquity dictated tastes and became an inescapable model of beauty and harmony. The offspring of the noble European families used this trip to complete their education, sometimes dangerous and exhausting, which could last for years. Certainly an experience full of emotion, in the name of learning and knowledge on the one hand, and in the name of escapism and delight on the other. Sicily was one of the preferred destinations, drawing visitors with the irresistible charm of its ruins. Sicilian monumental heritage also offered the unique opportunity to encounter Greek civilisation without having to face a dangerous trip to Greece, then under Turkish rule. Many travellers filled notebooks with their experiences of contact with antiquity, and sometimes accompanied their impressions with illustrations. Art students, engravers and painters offer valuable evidence through their 'ancient visions' of Italian artistic sites.