To enter the Scrovegni Chapel, you have to spend 15 minutes in a “environmental equilibration” chamber and video introduction before passing through two air locks into the chapel. Shockingly, visitors only get another 15 minutes to look around before being rushed out by security. However, if you are a clever art pilgrim (like yours truly) and book multiple back-to-back tickets, the museum escort chases everyone else out but leaves you alone for a few glorious minutes within the chapel.
Standing at the altar looking down the rows of painted vignettes, the rich pastel colors glowing warmly from the morning sunlight, has got to be one of the most profoundly beautiful art experience I have ever had. To say I loved the Scrovegni Chapel would be an understatement.
Photo of Giotto’s masterpiece, the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua (Photo: Art Bouillon)
A passerby admires “Germination” by Marisa Merlin, on the streets of Padua
While I love museums, I get excited when art breaks out of its proverbial frame and interacts with viewers in new ways. Last October, I was fortunate enough to see an outdoor art exhibit sponsored by the city of Padua entitled, “Artisti al Muro,” or, Artists on the Walls. These 21 temporary pieces were scattered around the old city – some blending in with and some in stark contrast with their surroundings. These works included naturalistic wire sculptures of plants, fabric canopies, and ghostly figures. My favorite piece was “Germination” by Marisa Merlin which reiterated for me how successful mixed media pieces can be and how critical public art installations are.
I came to Padua to see Giotto’s masterpiece, the Scrovegni Chapel, but I discovered a really amazing place. I found a charming city with lovely streets, elegant architecture, fun sights, and locals out enjoying a pleasant fall weekend in the numerous parks and piazzas. While Venice, its neighbor in the Veneto region, gets mobs of tourists, I realized that Padua definitely deserves a few days to explore and rewards its visitors with an unforgettable experience.
An impressive sight when walking around. Street view of the Basilica of Saint Anthony, Padua
In just a few weeks I’ll be headed to Italy! I was very honored to be invited on this trip and could not pass up the opportunity to connect with professionals in the travel industry, catch up with fellow bloggers, and take an art pilgrimage to see one of the greatest pieces of Western Art.
Tiberius Bridge, Rimini (Photo: zioWoody, Flickr)