Get a 'virtual' glimpse of the Grand Tour

If you’re one of those folks who like to stay on the cutting edge of trends such as “virtual reality," you’ll be excited to discover you can now experience a bit of Italy through your VR gadget courtesy of Google.

Google has tried to create "The Grand Tour of Italy" by combining 25 videos, 21 Street View tours, 38 digital exhibitions and 1,300 ultra-high resolution images into an experience you can try at home by inserting an Android smartphone into Google's VR Cardboard viewer, a platform that creates immersive experiences through a simple, foldable viewer.

Three centuries ago, the "grand tour" was a voyage undertaken by wealthy young adventure seekers who wanted to explore Italy's art and culture, with a goal of becoming more sophisticated, worldly citizens. Google recreates the voyage through a VR experience that explores four cities -- Venice, Palermo, Siena and Rome. A number of Italian museums, art galleries, and theaters have pitched in on the project.

Even if you don’t have a virtual-reality headset, you can get a sense of the experience from the YouTube video below. Want to buy Google VR Cardboard?

Of course, no virtual experience can recreate the primary attraction of Italy – the exquisite and varied flavors of its food and wine. For that, you’ll have to join us back in the real world!