Italy is one of the primary art areas of the world. This is the place of the Renaissance and the world renowned greats like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael. During your vacation in Italy, you will detect that art here has noticeable ties to religion. Several of the excellent artists also painted various religious contents and were frequently commissioned by the Church to paint murals.
Famous artists: da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael
If you are in the Tuscan city of Florence while on vacation in Italy, you can visit the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in the village called Vinci where he was born. The museum is in an ancient palace named the Conti Guidi Castle. The intention of the museum is mainly to function as a biographical memoir of the great artist and to describe his hometown and homes of interest. There is also a unique library here that keeps virtually everything that has ever been written about Leonardo da Vinci as a man, as an artist, and about his pieces. You can get a guided tour of this museum if you occur to be in Tuscany for your Italy vacation.
If you are in Florence, you must also go to the Uffizi Gallery. This place holds the greatest collection of paintings from the Italian Renaissance period. Many of the artists from that time in Florence. This town has beautiful landscapes and revolving hills, and it is not strange that the leading painters were so inspired by living in this area. An Italy holiday in this country will allow you to visit this museum and see famous paintings and sculptures such as Michelangelo’s “Doni Tondo” Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Annunciation” and Raphael’s “Madonna of the Goldfinch.”
An Italy journey here will be a real banquet for your artistic soul as you will not only get to experience the masterpieces of the greatest artists but you will also get to walk the streets that they walked on.
The Art That Made Grand Tourists Flock to Italy
As well as visiting history’s greatest treasures, Grand Tourists were also in the business of commissioning new art during their travels. Oftentimes, wealthy Grand Tourists would bring professional sketch artists along with them, whose whole purpose was to create souvenirs to take home. If this was not possible, Grand Tourists would have artworks made for them in Italy. A Venetian sketch artist who was widely popular during the Grand Tour was Giovanni Battista Piranesi, whose prints are still passed down through noble families today. And some more creative tourists would sketch Italian scenes themselves. After all, learning the arts first hand was, in essence, central to a formative intellectual voyage like this one.
From Rome to Venice, embark on a virtual tour of Italy’s art hotspots, to discover the art the Grand Tourists pursued, as well as the art they produced.
Rome: The Capital of the World
A Grand Tourist’s base itinerary for Italy included must-see cities like Venice, Florence, Naples and sometimes Sicily. And then, of course, there’s Rome. Each Italian city offered immense historic importance in Greco-Roman antiquity, Renaissance art and culture or Baroque architecture. But Rome had it all.
Rome was considered the ultimate stop during the Grand Tour, as it was both a portal back in time thousands of years, as well as a modern-day marvel of Baroque art and architecture. It was lauded as the land of Cicero, the birthplace of Julius Caesar, and home to some of Michelangelo’s most prized works.
Venice: The Floating City of Wealth and Art
Venice is often seen as one of the most intriguing and magical cities in the world, and it was no different for the Grand Tourists. It was a must on any Grand Tour itinerary, largely thanks to the wealth the city had built itself from merchant trading and a strong navy. These were admirable qualities to an 18th-century British traveler.
Its reputation may be what brought tourists to Venice, but Venetian Renaissance art and culture is what kept them coming back.
Pompeii & Naples: Ancient Ruins, Sun & Light
There were some Grand Tourists who championed lesser visited cities, oftentimes taking a direct journey to Naples – the land of sun, culture, opera buffa and a few of Caravaggio’s greats. Naples became more of a popular stop in the latter part of the Grand Tour, becoming something of a winter retreat for British tourists, with travelers like J.W. Goethe praising its glories.
While countless so-called “pagan” churches of a similar era were torn down, the fact that the Pantheon was dedicated to all gods (the name Pantheon means “all gods”) meant that it outlived various religious rivalries long enough to become consecrated as a Christian church. The building has been in constant use since it was constructed, and although I seem to lack the necessary vision to mentally reconstruct Roman ruins my mind swarms with history when I think of the millions (billions?) of people who have walked across the Pantheon’s marble floor in the last two thousand years.
I had a similar feeling when I visited Herculaneum, since its buildings are better-preserved than the ones at nearby Pompeii and in one case I walked into a two-story house and could sort of picture people actually living there, but even there I still felt like I was in a museum. The Pantheon has every right to be roped off, but it’s not – in fact, the huge oculus in the ceiling ensures that the precious floor I so fawn over isn’t even protected from the elements.
Museum of Italian art
If you are in Milan for your Italy holiday, you may want to visit the church named Santa Maria Delle Grazie. This is the church building that homes the known painting of Leonardo da Vinci’s called “The Last Supper.” His other known painting “Mona Lisa” sits in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The Santa Maria Delle Grazie church is preserved by UNESCO as a world inheritance site of significant social benefit to the world.
It also has some very distinctive and stunning architecture projected by Guiniforte Solari in the 1400s. It is mentioned that during World War II one of the bombs thrown by the British and American planes hit this magnificent church building, but the known wall painting was protected because the whole wall had been sandbagged.
Although it does not include art in the conventional sense of the word, the Archeological Museum of Naples is one of the greatest museums in the world of its variety and has some of the most significant findings from Pompeii and Herculaneum. You should strongly wish to see this museum for a run tour if you are in Naples for your Italy vacation.