Birthplace of the Renaissance and for centuries the centre of Western Civilisation, Italy has made an immense contribution to Europe's historical and cultural heritage. Holiday makers with an interest in art or culture therefore enjoy a wealth of opportunities to explore some of the world's most incredible masterpieces of art and architecture.
Anyone with a passion for art will love an art history holiday in Italy, but art buffs interested in the Renaissance and Baroque periods in particular are in for a treat with the country's many masterpieces by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Botticelli, Fra Angelico, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Bernini, Titian and Raphael.
There are many fascinating areas to visit throughout Italy, but three of the most perfect places for art history holidays are the glorious cities of Florence, Venice and Rome.
Art Holidays in Florence
Florence was at the epicentre of the Italian Renaissance and it remains one of the world's top attractions for art lovers, as well as being one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
With former residents including Renaissance masters Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Botticelli, it's no wonder that Florence is so popular for art history holidays.
Florence's Uffizi gallery is a Mecca for those on art holidays, history and cultural heritage holidays, and contains major works by all of the above artists and many more. It is one of the most famous museums of painting and sculpture in the world.
Art Holidays in Venice
In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the Venetian Republic was a major power and during the 1700s Venice began to greatly influence the art, architecture and literature of the rest of Europe.
Today, with much of the city unchanged for 600 years, art lovers don't need to enter a gallery to get a sense of the place's cultural heritage. Holiday makers with an interest in the Venetian school of painting should be sure to visit the Gallerie dell'Accademia, with its many masterpieces by Bellini, Giorgione, Tintoretto and Titian.
Despite the major impact of the huge numbers of tourists who flock to Venice to sample its magic, the city is still a must for any art holiday in Italy.
Art Holidays in Rome
Another major centre during the Renaissance period, the centre of Rome is a mixture of the Renaissance and the Baroque styles. Rome is famous for its grand 17th century squares and its huge number of monuments, museums and artistic masterpieces.
Rome's Borghese and Gallery of Modern Art
The city has many fantastic museums and galleries to visit on an art history holiday, including the Borghese Gallery, with major works by Raphael, Rubens, Titian, Caravaggio and Bernini.
Rome also boasts the National Gallery of Modern Art. Holiday makers are always taken aback by this gallery, which houses the most important Italian collection of paintings and sculptures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including works by Goya, Renoir, Van Gogh, Degas, Monet, Cezanne, Modigliani, Kandinsky and Klimt.
Kieron Sellens is the marketing manager of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AiTO). With AITO's cultural breaks you can choose from tailor-made art history holidays , historical tours, musical trips and many more. The independent tour operators that AITO represent specialise in worldwide holidays tailored to their customers’ requirements.