All Museums

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    Palazzo Vecchio

    Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) is an imposing palace in Florence, located in Piazza della Signoria, near the Uffizi Gallery.   SHORT HISTORY At the end of the 13th century, the city decided to build a palace in order to ensure effective protection for its magistrates. The project was attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio, architect of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and of the Basilica of Santa Croce. The palace, called Palazzo dei Priori, was built on the ruins of Palazzo dei Fanti and Palazzo dell’Esecutore di Giustizia, formerly owned by the Ghibelline family of the Uberti. Arnolfo di Cambio began the works in 1299, but the palace was completed after his death, in 1314. On March 26, 1302, the palace became the seat of the Signoria (the city council headed by the Priors). Between 1342 and 1343, the Duke of Athens, Gualtieri VI of Brienne, enlarged the palace towards Via della Ninna. Other important changes took place between 1440 and 1460 under Cosimo de’ Medici, when Sala dei Dugento was decorated in Renaissance style. Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred) was built in 1494 during the republic of Girolamo Savonarola. Between 1540 and 1550, Palazzo Vecchio Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Pubblico

    Palazzo Pubblico, also known as Palazzo Comunale, is a medieval palace in Siena, located in the beautiful Piazza del Campo. Currently, the palace houses the Civic Museum of Siena on the first floor, and the city’s Town Hall on the second floor.   SHORT HISTORY After the Council of Nine (Governo dei Nove) came to power in 1287, some ancient buildings in Piazza del Campo were purchased and subsequently demolished, to make room for a new public palace. The construction of Palazzo Pubblico began in 1297, and by 1310 the building was already completed. The tower of the palace, known as Torre del Mangia, was built between 1325 and 1348. By 1350, the second and the third floors of the central body, and the Loggia on the second floor facing Piazza del Mercato were also completed. The marble Cappella di Piazza (Chapel of the Square) was built in 1352 to thank the Virgin Mary for the end of the black plague that struck the city in 1348. The last floor of the palace was added only in 1680 by the architect Carlo Fontana.   ARCHITECTURE The central body of the palace has four floors, while the two side wings have Read more [...]

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    Castelvecchio

    Castelvecchio (Old Castle) is a medieval castle located in the historical center of Verona, currently used as the seat of the homonymous civic museum. The castle is the most important military construction of the Scaliger dynasty, the family that ruled the city in the Middle Ages. Initially, the fortification was called Castello di San Martino in Aquaro, a name derived from a pre-existing church located on this place, dating back to the 8th century. The complex took the name of Castelvecchio after the construction of Castel San Pietro.   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the castle was commissioned by Cangrande II della Scala in 1354. The fortress was placed to the south of the municipal wall, and took the form of a fortified residence, around the large rectangular enclosure of the Court of Arms (Corte d’Armi). The castle was completed in 1376 by Antonio and Bartolomeo II della Scala. At the same time, Ponte di Castelvecchio, the fortified bridge over the Adige, was built. The bridge, for the exclusive use of the castle, served as an escape route to the Adige Valley, preventing the river from becoming an insurmountable barrier. During the domination of the Visconti family, who took the Read more [...]

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    Aquarium of Genoa

    The Aquarium of Genoa is the largest aquarium in Italy, the first in Europe by the number of animal species, the third in Europe by area and the ninth in the world. The aquarium is located in the ancient port of Genoa.   SHORT HISTORY The aquarium was built for the International Exhibition Genoa 1992, to celebrate 500 years passed since the Genoese Christopher Columbus discovered the new world. The building was designed by the Genoese architect Renzo Piano. The interior was designed by the architect Peter Chermayeff. In 1998, the aquarium was expanded by 100 meters, with a ship connected by walkway to the original building. Subsequently, it was extended several times. From its opening until 2014, the aquarium was visited by over 25 million visitors, with an average of 1.2 million per year.   DESCRIPTION The aquarium includes 70 tanks and 4 open-air pavilions, inaugurated in the summer of 2013. The total area of the structure is 27,000 square meters. The tanks host about 15,000 animals of 400 different species, of which we can mention fish, marine mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, in environments that reproduce the original ones. Four large tanks allow animals to be observed from Read more [...]

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    Ca’ Rezzonico

    Ca’ Rezzonico is one of the most famous palaces in Venice, located in the Dorsoduro district (sestiere), overlooking the Grand Canal between Palazzo Contarini Michiel and Palazzo Bernardo Nani.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was designed in 1649 by Baldassarre Longhena for the Bon family. The construction began only in 1667, with the demolition of the existing buildings. Due to the economic difficulties of the family and the death of Longhena in 1682, the construction was abandoned. Only the facade towards the Grand Canal and a first floor were completed. The Della Torre-Rezzonico family settled in Venice in 1687. A member of this family, Giambattista, bought the building in 1751. He entrusted the project to Giorgio Massari, who built the second floor in 1752, and completed the palace in 1758. Between the autumn of 1847 and 1848, the palace was the residence of Carlos María Isidro of Spain, protected by the Austrian government. In 1888, it was bought by Robert Barrett Browning, son of the English writers Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who restored it thanks to the financial support of his wife, the American Fannie Coddington. In 1906, Robert Barrett Browning, ignoring an offer made to him by Read more [...]

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    Rocca di Riva

    Rocca di Riva is a medieval fortress located in Riva del Garda, on an artificial island, on the shore of Lake Garda. Today, Rocca di Riva is one of the two locations of the MAG Alto Garda Museum.   SHORT HISTORY Rocca di Riva was built in 1124 at the behest of Altemanno, prince-bishop of Trento, to defend the port of the town, a strategic point for trade in Trentino. In the 14th century, after the conquest of the town by the Della Scala family, lords of Verona, the fortress was renovated and enlarged. The structure could be accessed directly from the water, and was isolated from mainland by moats. In the following century, the fortress was disputed between Venice and the Visconti family of Milan, and was plundered several times. In 1516, Riva del Garda was conquered by the emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg. With the return under the Austrian domination, the military importance of the fortress diminished and it was used as the seat of the court of the bishopric of Trento. In the 19th century, the fortress was transformed into an army barracks, as part of the project to strengthen the border between the Austrian Empire and Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Pretorio

    Palazzo Pretorio, also known as Palazzo Vescovile (Episcopal Palace), is a palace in Romanesque style in Trento, located in Piazza del Duomo, adjacent to the Cathedral of San Vigilio. Palazzo Pretorio is the current seat of the Tridentine Diocesan Museum (Museo Diocesano Tridentino).   SHORT HISTORY Between the 9th and 13th centuries, Palazzo Pretorio was the residence of the Tridentine bishops. In 1071, it was mentioned for the first time as the Episcopal Palace. The palace took the name of Palazzo Pretorio during the 11th century, when the Court of Justice and the Praetor established their headquarters in the building. The bishop’s residence was transferred in 1255 to the Buonconsiglio Castle by the bishop Egnone of Appiano, causing the progressive abandonment of the ancient palace. In 1533, the charitable institution Monte di Pietà was located here, at the behest of Cristoforo Madruzzo, prince-bishop of Trento. At the same time, the palace hosted the consuls of the city and the College of Doctors. The palace was restored in 1676 on the initiative of Sigismondo Alfonso Thun. The works radically changed the original Romanesque facade of the building. In the 1950s, the facade of the palace was restored again in Romanesque style. Read more [...]

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    Palazzo D’Arco

    Palazzo D’Arco is a Neoclassical palace in Mantua, located in Piazza Carlo D’Arco. Today, the palace houses the Museum of Palazzo d’Arco, which displays the art collected over time by the D’Arco family.   SHORT HISTORY The D’Arco family settled permanently in Mantua in 1740, and by the marriage of Francesco Alberto d’Arco with one of the Chieppo family’s heirs, they acquired the residence of the latter. In 1784, Count Giovanni Battista Gherardo d’Arco commissioned the architect Antonio Colonna to rebuild the facade of the residence in Neoclassical style. The result was a remarkable example of an aristocratic palace rich in furnishings and paintings, with a library, a naturalistic collection and a beautiful garden enclosed by an exedra. In 1872, Francesco Antonio d’Arco bought from the Dalla Valle family two Renaissance buildings in the immediate vicinity of the palace, and incorporated them into the complex. The stables were built on the left side of the palace, a construction which later was transformed into the Teatrino d’Arco, seat of the Francesco Campogalliani Theater Academy since 1946. The last exponent of the family, who died in 1973, Giovanna dei Conti d’Arco Chieppio Ardizzoni, Marquise Guidi di Bagno, established the Arco Foundation, and Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Gopcevich

    Palazzo Gopcevich is a palace in Trieste, located near the harbour, on the bank of the Canal Grande. Since 2006, the palace houses the Civic Theater Museum Carlo Schmidl.   SHORT HISTORY The building was commisioned by a member of a noble Serbian family, Spiridione Gopcevich, and designed by the Triestine architect Giovanni Berlam. The construction of the palace began in 1850. The palace was bought in 1998 by the Municipality of Trieste. The Theater Museum of Trieste was founded in 1924 by the Triestine music publisher and collector Carlo Schmidl, and until 1991 it was hosted in the Municipal Theater Giuseppe Verdi. In 1992, the museum was temporarily moved to Palazzo Morpurgo, and on December 16, 2006, it was opened in Palazzo Gopcevich.   ARCHITECTURE With its double arched windows and the plasterwork inspired by the decoration of Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, in Venice, Palazzo Gopcevich is one the most important examples of Eclecticism in Trieste. The windows on the first floor are decorated by lunettes with marble statues representing the Serbian monarchs. Inside the palace, especially on the first floor, we can find rich ceiling decorations with plaster and tempera and refined wooden floors with mother-of-pearl marquetry.   THE Read more [...]

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    Casa Manzoni

    Casa Manzoni is a palace located in Via Gerolamo Morone, in Milan, famous for beeing the home of the writer Alessandro Manzoni from 1814 to his death. Alessandro Manzoni was an Italian writer, poet and playwright, who is considered one of the greatest Italian novelists of all time for his famous novel The Betrothed, the cornerstone of the Italian literature.   SHORT HISTORY In 1813, three years after Alessandro Manzoni returned to Milan, together with his wife Enrichetta Blondel and his mother Giulia Beccaria, after a five-year experience in Paris, he bought a new house in Via Morone. Manzoni moved to his new home a few months later, starting a series of modernization works, including the reconstruction of the facade oriented towards Piazza Belgioioso. The current appearance of the facade is owed to the architect Andrea Boni, who, in 1864, at the request of Manzoni, rebuilt the palace in Neo-Renaissance style. The facade, inspired by the Lombard Renaissance architecture, is composed of elaborate terracotta decorations. Above all, the portal and the balcony stand out. Until a few years ago, the Lombard Historical Society and the National Center of Manzoni Studies were housed in the building, on the ground floor. Thanks Read more [...]

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    Casa dei Tre Oci

    Casa dei Tre Oci (House of Three Eyes), also known as Casa di Maria, is a palace overlooking the Giudecca Canal, located near Le Zitelle, in the sestiere of Dorsoduro, on the Giudecca island, in Venice. The name of the palace comes from the three large windows on its facade, which resemble three eyes (òci meaning eyes in the Venetian dialect).   SHORT HISTORY Casa dei Tre Oci is a 20th century palazzo linked to many illustrious names. It was built between 1912 and 1913 by the painter Mario de Maria, who made it his new Venetian residence. The painter, wanting to commemorate his beloved daughter Silvia, who disappeared a few years earlier, built the house with three large windows on the facade, representing the three surviving members of his family: himself, his wife Emilia Voight and his son Astolfo. The mullioned window placed above them symbolizes the deceased daughter. In this palace, after the death of de Maria, people linked to the art world stayed and lived, like the architect Renzo Piano. In 1970, Enrico Maria Salerno set some scenes of the film The Anonymous Venetian in the palace. Today, the palace is owned by Polymnia Venezia, a company Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Provincia

    Palazzo della Provincia is a palace in Bari, part of the larger monumental transformation project of the Lungomare Nazario Sauro during the first decades of the 20th century, which hosts today the Pinacoteca Metropolitana di Bari Corrado Giaquinto (Painting Gallery of Metropolitan City of Bari).   SHORT HISTORY The Provincial Administration commissioned the design of its definitive headquarters in 1930. The palace, completed in 1936, is the result of the collaboration of the best Apulian architects of the time, coordinated by Luigi Baffa. Severely damaged during the Second World War, today the building houses the offices and the council chamber of the Provincial Administration, the Painting Gallery of Metropolitan City of Bari and the Archives of the city.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The building is characterized by eclecticism that recalls the neo-medieval civil architecture. The palace presents itself as an irregular quadrilateral, alternating Trani stone and red bricks. At the center of the rusticated base, there are five large round arches that give access to a portico in two-color marble. Beyond the upper floors, stands a clock tower, an allusion to the bell tower of the Cathedral of San Sabino, also visible from the Lungomare Nazario Sauro. The clock tower Read more [...]

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    Teatro Margherita

    Teatro Margherita is one of the historic theaters of Bari, which currently is undergoing restoration. The theatre will soon be converted into a museum of contemporary art.   SHORT HISTORY Teatro Margherita was built to replace the Varietà Margherita, a wooden theater inaugurated on September 5, 1910, which was the subject of violent criticism by both local entrepreneurs, who presented a similar project without obtaining authorization, and by the Petruzzelli family, the owners of the Petruzzelli Theater, which saw in it a potential competitor. The theater was built between 1912 and 1914 near the Old Port of Bari, on pillars, to escape the pact signed between the City of Bari and the Petruzzelli family, according to which the Municipality was committed not to build other theaters on the municipal ground. The Margherita Theater was designed in Art Nouveau style by Francesco De Giglio. He collaborated with Luigi Santarella to make the theater the first building in Bari in reinforced concrete, and unique in Europe for the particular construction on pillars. Being entirely surrounded by water, the theater was connected to the mainland by a pier. The inauguration of the theater took place on August 22, 1914. The theater was damaged Read more [...]

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    Botanical Garden of Palermo

    The Botanical Garden of Palermo (Orto Botanico di Palermo) is both a museum and a research and educational institution of the University of Palermo, located in the Kalsa district of Palermo. The botanical garden has a collection of over 12,000 different species of plants.   SHORT HISTORY Its origins date back to 1779, when the Accademia dei Regi Studi, establishing the chair of Botany and medicinal properties, gave it a modest plot of land to set up a small botanical garden for the cultivation of medicinal plants. The garden soon proved to be insufficient to the needs of the chair and, in 1786, it was decided to transfer it to its current location. In 1789, the construction of the main administrative buildings of the garden began. A central structure, the Gymnasium, and two lateral bodies, the Tepidarium and the Calidarium, were built in neoclassical style after a design by the French architect Léon Dufourny. Near the Gymnasium, we can find the oldest part of the garden, also designed by the architect Léon Dufourny after a rectangular scheme. On the indication of the Franciscan friar Bernardino da Ucria, a distinguished botanist, the species were arranged according to the Linnaean taxonomy, a Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Reale

    Palazzo Reale is a large palace in Pisa, located on the northern bank of the Arno River, on Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, at number 46. Today, the palace hosts the National Museum of the Royal Palace (Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale).   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) was built in 1583 by Bernardo Buontalenti for Francesco I de’ Medici, to replace the Medici Palace located near the Church of San Matteo. The palace was built by merging some medieval buildings dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries and partly still visible – that of the Counts Gaetani of Terriccio, Pomaya and d’Oriseo (the Tower of the Verga d’Oro and the Tower of the Canton), and was remodeled several times, during the 17th and 19th centuries. On an alley behind the palace, we can see the round arches of a medieval building, now lowered due to the rising of the floor, and in the courtyard, there is an ancient tower, with an arched portal, two small windows with a pentagonal architrave and a single-lancet window higher up. On the ground floor of the courtyard, we can also find the remains of a loggia, with two columns with capitals, partially abraded. Read more [...]

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    Fraternita dei Laici Museum

    The Fraternita dei Laici Museum was founded anew in 2010 in the Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici, in Arezzo, to exhibit a series of works collected between the 14th and the 19th century.   SHORT HISTORY The first collections of the institution were exhibited at the Fraternita dei Laici Museum from 1820, the year of its foundation, to 1935, when most of the art (archeology and science collections, and the library saved after the 1759 fire) was partly sent to the town Civic Museums. Most of the works, about 6000 of them, including 100 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and ancient furnishings are still in the palace and represent the core of today’s exhibition.   ART The Museum is composed of the Quadreria, the Council Room and the Primo Rettore’s Room. Besides the ancient works, the collection was completed around 1780 with the magnificent Gallery of Portraits, a series of effigies of grand dukes and benefactors who made the institution rich since the Middle Ages, including works by Pietro Benvenuti. The Bartolini Collection, composed of drawings, prints, plaster casts and books, is named after its founder, the sculptor Ranieri Bartolini, who left it to the city of Arezzo after his death. Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Pitti

    Palazzo Pitti is an imposing Renaissance-style palace in Florence, located in Piazza dei Pitti. The palace was the residence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and was inhabited, over time, by the Medici family, by the Habsburg-Lorraine and, after the Unification of Italy, by the Savoy. Palazzo Pitti hosts the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments, the Apartment of the Duchess of Aosta, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Treasury of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Carriage Museum. The museal complex of Palazzo Pitti also includes the Boboli Gardens.   SHORT HISTORY Luca Pitti, a rival of the Medici family, desired a more luxurious palace than the one built by Michelozzo for Cosimo the Elder. Around 1440, Pitti entrusted the project to Filippo Brunelleschi, but the architect died long before the construction began, and the project passed to his pupil, Luca Fancelli. The construction was started around 1458, but, due to various design problems and financial difficulties, the works were temporarily interrupted in 1465. Luca Pitti died in 1472. Around 1550, Buonaccorso Pitti sold the palace to Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici and daughter of the Viceroy of Naples. Read more [...]

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    Ca’ d’Oro

    Commonly known as Ca’ d’Oro, Palazzo Santa Sofia, located just across the Rialto Market, overlooking the Grand Canal, undoubtedly remains the most beautiful Venetian palace. Its name, translated into English as The Golden House, does not lie, because at origins, portions of the facade facing the Grand Canal were covered with this noble metal. Today, gold is missing, but the Venetian-style Gothic building still impresses, not so much by stature, but by the delicacy of its decorations. Currently, the palace hosts the Giorgio Franchetti art gallery, and it can be visited at the same time.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built between 1421 and 1440 for the Venetian merchant Marino Contarini. He closely supervised the work of several architects and sculptors, of whom we can mention the Venetians Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon, responsible for the decorations that adorn the palace, the Milan sculptor Matteo Raverti, and Marco d’Amedeo, probably the designer of the project. Marino Contarini died in 1441, leaving his only son, Piero, his entire fortune. Piero inherited, of course, the palace, which he will leave after his death to his daughters. A series of misunderstandings that followed led to the loss of the palace, which came in Read more [...]

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    Uffizi Gallery

    The Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) is the most visited Italian museum and the 11th art museum in the world, by the number of visits, with over 3 million visitors in 2016. Situated near Piazza della Signoria, in the historical center of Florence, the museum houses a collection of priceless works of art, most of them from the period of the Italian Renaissance.   SHORT HISTORY The building of the Uffizi Gallery was erected starting with 1560, at the request of Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de’ Medici. The original architect was Giorgio Vasari, one of the leading architects of the 15th century. The initial role of the building was to shelter the municipal offices (uffizi), hence the name, but for the next two hundred years the space brought together under one roof the art collections of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. In 1737, the last member of the Medici family, Anna Maria Luisa, decided to leave the art collections to the city of Florence. In 1769, the place was opened to the public, the first in Europe to be called a “museum”.   ART The art inside the Uffizi includes ancient and modern paintings and sculptures, precious furnishings, Read more [...]

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    Castel Sant’Angelo

    A beautiful monument in Rome, Castel Sant’Angelo has been guarding the banks of the Tiber for nearly 2000 years. Throughout the centuries, Sant’Angelo was, in turn, a mausoleum, a fortress, a castle, a prison and, today, a museum.   SHORT HISTORY In the year 135 AD, the roman emperor Hadrian commissioned a mausoleum for himself and his family, a monument worthy of the Antonine dynasty. To link it to the Campus Martius area, he built also a bridge, Pons Aelius, the current Sant’Angelo bridge. In 401, the mausoleum has been partially destroyed, after its conversion to a military fortress and due to the inclusion in the Aurelian Walls. Beginning in the 14th century, the papacy converted the mausoleum into a castle and connected it to St. Peter’s Basilica by a fortified corridor. Later, the Papal state will use Castel Sant’Angelo as a prison, Giordano Bruno or Benvenuto Cellini being among its guests. Today, the castle is a museum, the “Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo”.   HOW TO GET THERE The nearest Metro station is Lepanto, on Line A, 1.2 kilometers from Castel Sant’Angelo or 16 minutes of walking. If you want to reach the castle on foot, use the map Read more [...]