Discover Italy through its art museums19 October 2018

Discover Italy through its art museums

The most interesting art museums in Italy to visit at least once in life

Italy is famous all over the world for its exceptional artistic heritage with museums containing works of exceptional beauty. Sculptures, frescoes and paintings made by the greatest artists of history, from Leonardo to Michelangelo. Visited every year by millions of tourists, these museums are also hosted in famous historic buildings of great value.

According to data from Mibact, Ministry for Italian Cultural Heritage and Activities, in 2017 the 5 most visited state cultural centers in Italy were the Colosseum (over 7 million visitors), Pompeii (3.4 million visitors) , the Uffizi (2.2 million visitors), the Accademia Gallery of Florence (1.6 million visitors) and Castel Sant’Angelo (1.1 million visitors). In the Top 30 the most sustained growth rates were recorded by Palazzo Pitti (+ 23%) and by four sites in Campania: the Royal Palace of Caserta (+ 23%), Ercolano (+ 17%), the Archaeological Museum of Naples (+ 16%) and Paestum (+ 15%). Following the Royal Museums of Turin (+ 15%) and the Miramare Castle of Trieste (+ 14%). Lastly, it is important to point out the significant growth in the Brera Pinacoteca (+7 positions), Palazzo Pitti (+5 positions), the Royal Museums of Turin (+4 positions) and the entry in the ranking, for the first time, of Villa Adriana and the Museum of Capodimonte.

But let’s find out which are for us the five museums to visit at least once in life if you are in Italy for the first time.

Uffizi Galleries – Florence

The current Uffizi Galleries form a complex comprising the Gallery of Statues and Paintings (formerly Palazzo degli Uffizi), the Vasari Corridor and the Palazzo Pitti collections. This complex constitutes in terms of quantity and quality of the works collected one of the most important museums in the world. While in Pitti Palace are concentrated paintings of the 16th and the Baroque (ranging from Giorgione to Tiziano, from Ribera to Van Dyck) but also from the 19th and 20th century Italian, the Vasari Corridor now houses part of the Collection of Self-Portraits (over 1,700) among these are those of Holbein, Rembrandt, Velázquez, Reynolds, David, Corot, Ingres, Delacroix, Sargent, Chagall and Ensor. The Gallery of the Statues collects priceless works of art, deriving, as a fundamental nucleus, from the Medici collections.

Discover Italy through its art museums

Vatican Museums – Rome

Founded by Pope Julius II in the 16th century, they occupy a large part of the vast courtyard of the Belvedere and are one of the largest collections of art in the world, since they display the enormous collection of works of art accumulated over the centuries by the Popes: Sistine Chapel and the frescoed papal apartments by Michelangelo and Raphael are part of the works that visitors can admire on their journey. Every year, more than 18 million people admire the masterpieces displayed in the 7 km of halls and corridors of the Museums: among the most important we also mention the Geographical Maps and the Deposition of Caravaggio, modern works by Salvador Dalì, Paul Gauguin and Giorgio De Chirico.

Discover Italy through its art museums

Egyptian Museum – Turin

The Egyptian Museum of Turin is the oldest museum (1824), worldwide, entirely dedicated to the Nilotic civilization and is considered, for value and quantity of the finds – good five floors of exhibition halls – the most important in the world after that of Cairo. Today the Museum is housed in the Palazzo dell’Accademia delle Scienze, the imposing 17th century building whose construction began in 1679 by the architect Michelangelo Garove on the original project of Guarino Guarini. Today in the museum about 6,500 archaeological finds are exhibited, but over 26,000 are deposited in the warehouses. The finds cover a period ranging from the Paleolithic to the Coptic era, that is to say the era of the native Egyptian Christians.

Discover Italy through its art museums

Borghese Gallery – Rome

Established in 1902, the Galleria Borghese is one of the oldest museums in Italy. It can be considered unique in the world as regards the number and importance of Bernini’s sculptures and Caravaggio’s paintings. There is no lack of priceless masterpieces by Agnolo Bronzino, Antonio Canova, Raphael, Perugino, Lorenzo Lotto, Antonello da Messina, Pieter Paul Rubens, Bellini and Titian. Housed in the splendid setting of Villa Borghese, this museum also preserves sculptures, bas-reliefs and ancient mosaics.

Discover Italy through its art museums

Museum of Capodimonte – Naples

The National Museum of Capodimonte is a museum of Naples, located inside the namesake palace, in the locality of Capodimonte. It was officially inaugurated in 1957, although the rooms of the palace have hosted works of art starting from 1758. Mainly preserves paintings, widely distributed in the two main collections, namely the Farnese one, which includes some of the great names of Italian painting and international (including Raphael, Titian, Parmigianino, Bruegel the Elder, El Greco, Ludovico Carracci, Guido Reni), and that of the Neapolitan Gallery, which collects works from churches in the city and its surroundings (Simone Martini, Colantonio, Caravaggio , Ribera, Luca Giordano, Francesco Solimena). Capodimonte also welcomes the exhibitions of internationally renowned contemporary artists such as the personal exhibition of Andy Warhol in 1985, articulated in a sequence of paintings depicting the erupting Vesuvius of which the museum nowadays conserves a sample.

Discover Italy through its art museums