Thursday 17 September 2020


Presumably sourced to the agnomen of Marcus Tullius Cicero (previously), which itself means chickpea or garbanzo bean, in reference to the orator and statesman’s loquacity of speech, a cicerone is a mostly antiquated way of identifying (possibly self-appointed) a guide or docent who conducts sightseers in touristed locales and explains items of historic and artistic interest for their benefit and edification.
During the age of Grand Tours, such retained escorts and chaperons were known colloquially as bear-leaders (referencing the cruel and medieval practise of bear-baiting and conducting the poor animal from village to village) and were responsible for keeping their charges out of trouble whilst ensuring that they got the most educational value out of their trips abroad and had due appreciation for the places they visited. In the United States, a cicerone is a by-word and certification programme for a sommelier that specialises in beer who can speak to hobby-brewing, glassware and food-pairings.