As regular travel to Italy is not expected to resume any time soon, and as museums remain closed following the latest emergency decree by the country’s prime minister, we want to show our support and love for art and culture by suggesting ways to explore Italy’s great museums virtually.
Doge’s Palace, Venice
You can explore Venice’s landmark Palazzo Ducale, home of the Doge, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice, on Google Arts & Culture. There are 137 works of art, grouped according to period (such as Renaissance or Mannerism) or artist (Tintoretto, Titian and more).
When you click on a specific image, you also have the option to see it in augmented reality by downloading the Art Projector app, which “lets you see how artworks look in real size in front of you.”
You can also tour the Doge’s Palace itself, and its magnificent frescoed rooms.
The Canova Museum, Possagno (Treviso)
Perhaps because it is outside the main tourist itineraries, the Canova Museum, which contains the home and sculptures of Antonio Canova, one of the greatest Neoclassical artists, is little known and little visited, especially when compared to ‘stars’ like the Vatican Museums and Uffizi Galleries.
Canova was born in Possagno (Treviso), which at the time was part of the Republic of Venice, and that is where the museum is located.
The Canova Experience project allows you to tour Canova’s home and the Gipsoteca, which contains plaster casts and scale models of famous pieces, and was designed to reproduce the setup of the artworks inside the artist's atelier.
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
Milan has museums too, you know - not just fashion and design, and aperitivo on the Navigli (!). The Pinacoteca di Brera, open since 1809, contains some of the greatest masterpieces in the history of world art and, on the museum’s website, you can explore its collection of 669 online works.
You can analyze them in detail, zooming in on the painting, read the accompanying caption that describes the work and the historical context, and even download the image in high resolution (should you want to use Caravaggio’s Cena in Emmaus as your screensaver, which he painted before fleeing Rome as he had killed a man).
You can select the works of art by period, artist, technique, and room. Click here to begin your online exploration.
Uffizi Galleries, Florence
The Uffizi Galleries’ Hypervisions online project allows viewers to see the museum’s masterpieces grouped around themes, such as ‘Rebirth’, “a sentimental journey among the ancient statues of the Uffizi Gallery,” or Francesco, Brother of the Universe, “Life and Cult of Saint Francis through the artworks of the Uffizi Galleries.” High-definition images are accompanied by captions that explain the work of art, the theme and the historical context.
You can also tour virtually the Uffizi’s new halls, which include the Galleries of 16th-Century Venetian Painting, with some of the world’s most important Venetian painting from the 1500s, with works by Titian, Giorgione, Tintoretto and Veronese.
Vatican Museums, Rome
You can take 14 different virtual tours inside Rome’s Vatican Museums, the third most visited art museum in the world (which means, in normal times, crowded). The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 on display, including some of the most renowned Roman sculptures and masterpieces of Renaissance art.
And yes, you’ll be able to virtually visit the world-famous Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms, but do not stop there; you can tour several other areas, wings and museums, such as the outstanding Chiaramonti and Pio Clementino sculpture museums, with their Greek and Roman statues, sarcophagi and friezes.
Click this link and enjoy some world-class art, for free!