Italy is famous for its artists through the ages. Although the Vatican in Rome has some of the most well-known paintings in the Sistine Chapel, other cities such as Florence, Milan and Venice provide visitors with many opportunities to view stunning works of art.
The Vatican, Rome
One of the most famous world collections of Italian art is housed in the Vatican in Rome. In addition to the museums with Greek and Roman antiquities, two of its famous galleries are the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel. The four Raphael Rooms contain paintings by Raphael and his assistants from as early as 1508. The work took Raphael more than 16 years and includes several famous frescoes, such as "The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple."
The Sistine Chapel contains 12 superb frescoes by some of the best artists of the Renaissance, including Botticelli. One of Michelangelo's final masterpieces, "The Last Judgment," adorns the huge altar wall. Most famous of all is the chapel ceiling which Michelangelo painted between 1508 and 1512.
Citta del Vaticano Rome Italy 011-39-69-88-33-33 vatican.va
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Regarded as one of Italy's greatest art galleries, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence was built between 1560 and 1580. It contains the world's best collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, in addition to those from Spain, Germany and Holland. The collection was gathered by the Medici family and housed in the Uffizi in 1581. Two of its famous paintings are the "Annunciation" by Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael's "Madonna of the Goldfinch."
Loggiata degli Uffizi 6 Florence Italy 011-39-055-238-8651 www.uffizi.firenze.it
Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence
The art collection in the Galleria dell'Accademia was formed in 1784, to allow students from the Academy of Fine Arts to study and copy works of art. It contains the famous sculpture "David" by Michelangelo, which was moved to the Accademia for safety in 1873. The gallery also contains an important collection of 15th- and 16th-Century works by Florentine artists.
Galleria dell'Accademia Via Ricasoli 60 Florence Italy 011-39-055-238-8609 www.firenzemusei.it
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
The 17th century building of the Palazzo di Brera, houses Milan's finest art collection, including paintings from the Italian Renaissance and the Baroque period. In addition to the Old Masters, the collection also includes some 20th century works of art from Italy's famous modern artists.
Milan is also the home of the 15th century convent, the Santa Maria delle Grazie. Although not an art gallery, this beautiful Renaissance building contains one of the most famous of Leonardo da Vinci's frescoes, the "Last Supper," which is painted on the refectory wall.
Pinacoteca di Brera Via Brera 28 20121 Milan Italy 011-39-02-722631 www.brera.beniculturali.it
Many of the churches in Venice resemble miniature art galleries, with paintings by Tintoretto and Titian, and other famous artists. The Accademia gallery, however, contains a collection of paintings spanning five centuries, from the Byzantine period in the middle ages, through the Renaissance and Baroque periods, to the 18th century.
Giovanni Battista Pizzaetta founded the collection in the Accademia di Belle Arti in 1750, but Napoleon Bonaparte moved the paintings to the present building in 1807. One of the paintings on display is the "Feast in the House of Levi" (1573) by Paolo Veronese.
Accademia Campo della Carita Venice Italy 011-39-041-5200345 gallerieaccademia.org