Italy: Our Favourite Museums

4 Museums to Visit on Your next Trip to Italy

With the prominence of Italy in the Mediterranean, the land of vineyards and olive reached its economic height early in European history. It provided the climate for cultural growth which shaped world history. Human marks are preserved in the museums which are the largest and most visited in the world. Beside food and the Italian language, art museums attract by the millions.

 

1. Musei Vaticani

In the Vatican City are fifty plus galleries containing a huge collection of public art and sculpture collectively known as the Musei Vaticani, founded in the early 16th century. They contain roughly 70,000 works amassed by the Catholic Church and the papacy throughout the centuries, 20,000 of them are on display.

Most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art populate the buildings. Leonardo Davinci, Carvaggio, Filippo Lippi headline the roster. There are also religious art by modernist masters. From excavations are Egyptian artefacts and Etruscan pieces.

The tour will walk through fine classical style architecture, pass by the halls with murals by Raphael, to culminate at the Sistine Chapel, with the famous ceiling frescoes by Michaelangelo.

Musei Vaticani

 

2. Galleria Borghese

In Rome, the former Villa Borghese Pinciana houses a substantial part of The Galleria Borghese collection of paintingssculpture and antiquities. The building includes twenty rooms across two floors. The main floor displays classical antiquities of the 1st–3rd centuries AD, topped by ceiling frescoes in the major rooms. Integrated with equally famous gardens, Giovanni Vanzanio designed the 17th century building with sketches by Scipione Borghese. Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605–1621) was an early patron of Bernini and an avid collector of works by Caravaggio. Among many old masters, Titian, Raphael, Peter Paul Rubens, headline the list.

Galleria Borghese

 

3. Galleria Degli Uffizi

Adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy, is the prominent Uffizi Gallery. It was made originally as offices for the Florentine magistrates, hence uffizi, or “offices”. The building was begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de’ Medici. It opened to the public in 1765, and formally became a museum in 1865.It holds a collection of priceless works from the art collections of the powerful Medici family, particularly from the period of the Renaissance. Italian and Northern masters Davinci, Michaelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt, Durer—to name a few—grace the halls along with ancient sculptures.

 

Galleria Degli Uffizi

4. Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Here we come at a modern art museum. On the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, lies the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, an 18th-century palace, home of Peggy Guggenheim for three decades. It houses the collection with works of prominent Italian futurists and American modernists working in period styles as Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. Among the list are modern masters: Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Severini, Duchamp, and Calder. It also includes sculptural works.

Guggenheim’s private collection have been seasonally available to the public since 1951, and became year-round since 1980. Along with the permanent collection, loaned works and temporary exhibitions illuminate its walls.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection

These triumphs of human achievement came across centuries of turmoil and the current Covid19 crisis won’t tarnish them either. Physical visits might be difficult nowadays, but museums find solutions like online tours. Although the roundness of forms, ambient colors, and smells of varnishes won’t be felt first-hand, art continues to uplift the human soul.

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