Italy

Around the region

Piazza San Marco

For many visitors this piazza is Venice. The gold-covered Byzantine Basilica, the lavish Palazzo Ducale, the 99 m Campanile, the Torre dell’Orologio and the splendid Museo Civico Correr are its stand-out attractions. Napoleon called it “the finest drawing room in Europe”.
 
Santi Giovanni e Paolo

The hulking brick of Gothic ‘San Zanipolo’ sits in a buzzing campo full of children playing and old men chatting. The resting place of many doges, its highly crafted tombs and art by Bellini and Veronese, to name but two, are magnificent.

Gesuiti

The first glimpse of this white, ornamental Baroque church in a down-to-earth, working-class campo takes your breath away. Inside, green marble, carved to make it look as if it is draped, and epic paintings by Titian and Tintoretto seal its status.

Madonna dell’Orto

On the edge of town, the young Tintoretto filled his local church with art, just for the price of some paint and brushes. Full of fear, passion and tenderness, it is an astonishing insight into his prodigious talent. His humble tomb is within the church.
 
Ghetto

The original Jewish ghetto dates from the 16th century, when the movements of the city’s Jewish population were tightly controlled. The Museo Communità Ebraica offers social history tours of the area, finishing at the poignant Holocaust Memorial.

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

This colossal Franciscan Gothic church holds some of Venice’s most extraordinary and moving art works, from the mournful lion on Canova’s pyramidal tomb to the vivid splendour of Titian’s Assumption.
 
Accademia

Walk though the history of art in just two hours, from the stylized faces and ubiquitous halos of Byzantine art to the Renaissance, when Lotto, Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese gave light, colour and meaning to art.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Women don’t really feature in the official history of Venice. That is, until Peggy came along with the shock of the new and took over a palazzo on the Canal Grande to show her unrivalled collection of surrealist and abstract art.
 
San Sebastiano

Veronese ran wild in this small, neighbourhood church and covered every surface with colour and life. His architectural illusions change the whole internal dimensions of the church so you don’t know what is painting and what is relief. 
 
San Giorgio Maggiore

A white beacon of beauty and hope in the Bacino di San Marco, Palladio’s monumental church transformed this island into one of the symbolic images of La Serenissima. Also here are dreamy cloisters and the half-moon Teatro Verdi.

San Lazzaro degli Armeni

Byron used to swim here to spend time with the Mekhitarist fathers, learn Armenian and study the books in their library. Now a vaporetto will take you to the beautiful church and monastery, where a tour gives an enthralling insight into life then and now.
 
Torcello

On this rugged, barely inhabited island in the lagoon stands the honourable Cattedrale Santa Maria Assunta, a Byzantine church festooned with spectacular mosaics of the Seven Sins and the Last Judgement.

Cappella degli Scrovegni

Enrico Scrovegni built this chapel in Padua and commissioned Giotto to adorn it in an attempt to assuage the sins of his father. Giotto’s unsurpassed frescoes breath stunning colour and life into the stories of Mary and Jesus.

Università

Established in 1222, Padua university has attracted some of the finest minds in history to study and teach here. Its grandness is testament to the status such seats of learning had in both late Medieval and Renaissance periods.

Possagno

Canova’s home town has his tomb, designed by himself and built by the locals, and a stirring museum where the models and casts for his most famous sculptures can be found.

Villa Barbaro

In the lush countryside of Maser stands one of Palladio’s most delightful residences, which houses some of Veronese’s finest frescoes. Built in 1580, Villa Barbaro epitomizes the vision and ideals of the Renaissance.  

Teatro Olimpico

Palladio may have designed this semi-circular tiered theatre in Vicenza but it is Vincenzo Scamozzi’s stage set that draws gasps of wonder. Still in use, it is the only surviving Renaissance theatre in Italy.  

La Rotonda

This is considered by many architects to be the perfect building. Palladio himself took great pride in the way the landscape, materials, location, symmetry and mathematical precision came together in such beauteous harmony.
 
Arena

Verona’s Roman amphitheatre is in amazingly good condition, despite having been built 2000 years ago. It is now the setting for Verona’s famous opera season; a performance here is a spectacle never forgotten.
 
Teatro Romano & Museo Archeologico

Verona’s Roman theatre is still used as a performance venue and has held on to its ancient allure. The Museo, housed high on a hill in the former convent of San Girolamo, offers the most majestic views of the Teatro and of Verona itself.

 

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