The Scrovegni Chapel (Cappella degli Scrovegni), dedicated to St. Mary of the Charity, commissioned by Enrico degli Scrovegni and frescoed between 1303 and 1305 by the painter and architect Giotto di Bondone, is one of the most important masterpieces of Western art.
Since 2006, the Scrovegni Chapel has been nominated to become the second UNESCO World Heritage Site in Padua, the first being the 16th century botanical garden.
At the beginning of the 14th century, Enrico Scrovegni, a rich Paduan banker, had bought a land in Padua, in an ancient Roman area, to build a sumptuous palace and a chapel that will be used as a family mausoleum.
For painting the chapel, he comissioned the Florentine Giotto, who started the work in 1303 and finished it before March 25th, 1305, when the chapel was consecrated. Giotto painted the entire inner surface of the oratory with a unitary iconography, helped by a team of about forty employees.
Palazzo Scrovegni was demolished in 1827 to obtain precious materials and make room for two condominiums, and the chapel was officially acquired by the Municipality of Padua. Immediately after the purchase, the condominiums were demolished and the chapel was restored.
In June 2001, after twenty years of preliminary investigations and studies, the Central Institute for the Restoration from the Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities and the Municipality of Padua, owner of the Scrovegni Chapel, began the restoration of the frescoes by Giotto, under the guidance of Giuseppe Basile. In March 2002, the Chapel was given back to the world in all its splendor.
The frescoes of Giotto follow three main themes: the lives of Joachim and Anna, the life of the Virgin Mary and the life and death of Christ. The lower parts of the walls contain a series of frescoes illustrating Vices and Virtues.
HOW TO GET THERE
The chapel is about 750 meters away from the Padua Train Station. On foot, it’s a 10 minutes walk. If you don’t like to walk, you must know that the closest bus station is Garibaldi Giardini, only 80 meters away from the chapel.