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First time to Italy - what museums, art galleries, and churches???

First time to Italy - what museums, art galleries, and churches???

Old Feb 8th, 2001, 03:49 PM
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First time to Italy - what museums, art galleries, and churches???

This is our first trip to Italy. We aren't big into museums, churches and art, but I don't think we could do a trip to Italy and not include them. What are the favorites out there?
We will be traveling to Rome, Venice, Florence and the surrounding Tuscany area.
Old Feb 8th, 2001, 04:12 PM
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toO, too, too, too many to mention

What appeals to you more even if not your big interest:
ancient history? painting? sculpture?
cities? country? small towns with a historic look and feel? Look at some picture books and guide books and them come back, OK? If nothing appeals to you, it might be better to pick another destination that's not quite so rich with art, churches, museums.
Old Feb 8th, 2001, 04:20 PM
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The best of Italy is inextricably intwined in its museums, churches and its art.

Go browsing in any really good book store, and find one or more "coffee table" books that has big luscious pictures of Italy, and if they don't move you, you might ask why is it that you think you want to go to Italy. There ARE some other wonderful reasons (the lakes, the wine, skiing, archeology, modern fashion, and on and on) to go to Italy, but these "top ten" are still very integral to the overall Italian experience:

St. Peter's (Rome)
The Vatican Museum (Rome)
Borghese Gallery (Rome)
Basilica of Santa Croce (Florence)
Il Duomo (Florence)
Accademia (Florence)
Uffizzi Galleries (Florence)
Basilica San Marco (Venice)
Santa Maria Della Salute (Venice)
The Doges Palace (Venice) - - which might not be a museum, strictly speaking, but its collections and interior art are certain museum-class.

Best wishes,


Old Feb 8th, 2001, 04:55 PM
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Buy a guidebook, note some things that look interesting to you and decide that day if you want to see them. I've spent days in Florence without walking into a museum or church. The weather was great and I wandered the piazzas people watching and looking at the architecture (from the outside). I always note things that I may want to see, but then leave it open to your mood. It's vacation and shouldn't be a chore.
Old Feb 8th, 2001, 05:27 PM
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Faye, Buy the EYEWITNESS GUIDE--ITALY. It is the best and will give you more than you want. It would take hours to cover it here. You can buy it thru Amazon.com for about $26.
Old Feb 9th, 2001, 07:50 AM
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I love Santa Croce in Florence, very cool place. There is also a church in Florence, San Miniato, at certain times of the day monks sing. It is very peaceful. But the most fun in Florence is definitly the piazzas. You never know what will happen there and the people watching is incredible! Piazza Del'Republica is especially fun at night
Old Feb 9th, 2001, 06:45 PM
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Faye, di you ever read the answers here?
Old Feb 9th, 2001, 07:22 PM
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Whether you're a museum buff or not, absolutely do not miss The Accademia in Florence. Michaelangelo's David is breathtaking.
Old Feb 9th, 2001, 07:41 PM
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Look at it this way... almost everywhere you go in Italy is a museum -one way or another.
For instance, you're out walking in Rome, say around the Centro Storico just meandering through the maze of little side streets and alleyways, suddenly,as if from out of nowhere, standing before you is a majestic marble faced building, the doors are open and you decide to see what's inside.
Man, that's Italy!
On the other hand, it dosnt hurt to plan a little. Watch some movies about italy, rent Fellini's Roma, or Roman Holiday, check out a book on michelangelo try to immerse yourself in what Italy is. That way, when you see the things for real, It will make a greater impression on you because you'll have a sense of where things fit.

Old Feb 9th, 2001, 08:46 PM
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I would also suggest Santa Croce in Florence but would also suggest the Pitti Palace for seventeenth & eighteenth century art. Great pictures hung in the rooms of a restored Medici palace. It is djacent to the Bobili gardens and makes for a nice diversion across the Arno.
While in Rome I would suggest the Vatican Museaum esp. the Raphael rooms and the amazing Laocoon Group (Hellenistic Statue- 4th. cen. BCE) Also see St. Peters & the Sistine while in the Vatican. Elsewhere in Rome visit the Pantheon & the church of Il Gesu'(it is a Baroque masterpiece not full appreciated by most visitors). Finally, the Coloseum and while in the area, the church of San Clemente where 1600 years of Roman building is stacked up on itself-make special note of its beautiful coffered ceiling. Enjoy your trip.
Old Feb 11th, 2001, 04:55 AM
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When we were in rome last year we had a hard time finding the right museums and churches so a young man helped us out. He was a belgian historian and art historian and he offered us a tour. We took the tour and he showed us the vatican and some of the other basilicas and helped us out with the planning of the rest of our trip, if you want to spend your time in the city hearing the stories about it rather than getting lost all the time i strongly recommend him, i believe this is his email: [email protected]
Old Feb 11th, 2001, 05:53 AM
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Sniff, sniff, sniff. I smell an advertisement!
Old Feb 11th, 2001, 12:25 PM
In response to
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I think that what you smell is your own head up your ass.
Old Feb 11th, 2001, 12:49 PM
Dean Gold
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The eye witness guides are great and rough guide is very comprehensive.

We are wanderers and we just walk/drive around and go into all the museums and churches we pass. You have to in Italy as so much of Italian history and culture are based there. But for every church or Museum we go into we also stop at a wine bar or a snack shop or a gelato store to balance out our experiences. You also need to go the the outdoor markets and buy some fresh fruit or veges to munch on. Start every day at a local bar (stand up places for espresso, sandwiches, paste which are pastries with the locals). Just wander around!

Here are some of the lesser known things to do that we have enjoyed:

Torcello for it's 12th centuary cathedral.
Grand Scuola di San Rocco for its Tintoretto's- This is really a fun visit, you use mirrors to see the paintings on the roof.
The Frari for Titian.
San Georgio island has exhibits, great view of Venice from across the canal.
Scuola San Giovani degli Schiavoni (I may have the name wrong) for Carpaccio fresco cycle (intimate, bizzare, powerful fresco's of San Georgio and the dragon, a real highlight of our trips to venice).

Villa Borghese (you must reserve in advance) for Berniini sculpture and Titians
Villa Julia- Etruscan Art

Academia for David and Michelangelo's prisoners
San Lorenzo and the New Sacristy for pietra dure and Michelangelo's tombs for the Medici Princes
Museo del Opera behind the Duomo to see the tools used to build the Duomo as well as Michelangelo's Pieta (not the one at the Vatican, but a later one which M intended for his own tomb).
Santa Croce for its tombs

Outside Florence

In Siena the Duomo is a must for its incredibel floors. The municipal meseum on the campo for incredible frescos.

Monte Oliveto Maggiore- An amazing monastery with Il Sodoma's fresco cycle. This is one of the most stunning and incredibly intimate art experiences. 40 fresco's that you can see up close and in relatively uncrowded surroundings. You can also go to mass and hear Gregorian chants. Lunch or dinner nearby at La Chiusa in Montefollonico for a break the bank meal that will astound (we spent $280 for 2 with wine champagne, after dinner drinks, 7 courses and 2 desserts each and well worth it.)
Montalcino for its fortezza (castel and wine bar)
Voltera for its Etruscan Museum
Old Feb 11th, 2001, 02:09 PM
the turnip
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I must second Leo's suggestion about the Belgian tour guide. His name is Jasper and we loved his tours. No this is not an advertisement. Let me just say this, my wonderful wife is not a "museum person" either, but Jasper may have converted her. While showing us around the Vatican museum you could just see his love for these works of art. His passion and conviction carried us along as well. I would highly reccomend him.

My other must see in Rome is the Villa Borghese. The sculptures there, done in marble, simply defy description and must be seen to be believed.

Cheers and have a great time in Italia,
the turnip

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