12 Italian Renaissance Places to Visit in Italy

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Renaissance is the period following the Medieval Age and is marked as the period ‘rebirth’ of European culture, art, politics, and economics. The period is believed to begin in the 14th century and lasted throughout the 17th century. This era has seen some of the greatest artists, scientists, authors and thinkers that ever existed in human history.

The renaissance started in Florence, Italy and spread throughout Italy. If you want to know more about the Italian Renaissance, we curated this article on Italian Renaissance Places for you. There are many places that became popular during the Italian Renaissance.

Here is a list of 12 Italian Renaissance Cities which are known for its architectural marvel of the Renaissance Structures.

Italian Renaissance Architecture and Places

Check out these beautiful and historic Italian Renaissance Places in Italy.

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1. Milan

Milan: Italian Renaissance
flickr: David Martyn Hunt

Milan is a city in Italy, which is known as the global capital of fashion and design. Not only in terms of fashion, but Milan also has a lot in store for the people looking for Renaissance treasure and is home to a number of Rennaisance structures.

The main attraction in this city is Leonardo da Vinci’s infamous painting, ‘The Last Supper’ in the Church of Santa Maria Della Francesca. Brera Museum too has an innumerable masterpiece by great artists like Mantegna, Raphael and Piero Della Francesca to name a few. Milan’s spiked gothic cathedral of the Duomo has never failed to amaze people. It took 500 years to build this piece of pure excellence. The rooftop gives a mesmerizing view of the gilded Madonnina at the pinnacle and consists of 3600 statues and 135 spires.

2. Venice

Venice: Italian Renaissance
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Venice used to be one of the most influential city-states in Europe during the prosperity of the Italian Renaissance. All the major trade routes between East and West were under the control of Venice, which made Venice rich. This richness still reflects in Venice’s exquisite architecture.

Visitors are attracted by the sheer elegance of the magnificent palaces, churches, and monuments. People can visit the Piazza San Maco and admire the mosaic-decked domed basilica. Venice’s historic art gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia, Venetian masterpieces by Bellini, Titian and others are available. These masterpieces date from the 14th century to the 16th century. 

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3. Ferrara

Ferrara: Italian Renaissance
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Ferrara, which is now a hidden treasure with lots of palaces and luxurious houses, was once the hub of intellectuals. It was home to some of the greatest minds of the Italian Renaissance. This place is designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO for its beauty. It has a lot of Renaissance structures.

Ferrara is a host to the court of the ruling d’Este family. The former home to the House of Este is a luxurious palace with splendid chambers, secret hallways, and creepy cells. Visitors may visit the Palazzo Schifanoia to admire the frescoes by Cosme Tura, an early Renaissance painter and the dazzling Renaissance-style palace with a façade of 8,500 marble blocks carved to represent diamonds – Palazzo dia Diamanti.

4. Arezzo

Arezzo: Italian Renaissance
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Arezzo is infamous for its connection with Piero Della Francesca, an esteemed early Renaissance artist. His ‘The Legend of the True Cross’, is a series of frescos, that is one of the foundations of Italian Renaissance art. It is found in the church Basilica di San Francesc.

Other attractions include the Piero Della Francesca’s fresco of Mary Magdalene found in the Gothic cathedral. People can also enjoy the view of the 16th-century Palazzo Delle Logge Vasariane at Piazza Grande.

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5. Cortona

Cortona: Italian Renaissance
flickr: roberto

Cortona is known as an Italian Renaissance city and is associated with Fra’Angelico, an early renaissance painter. It was his home as well as his workplace in the late 14th century. Museo Diocesano displays two of his infamous works, ‘Annunciation’ and ‘Madonna with Child and Saints’.

The entrance of church San Domenico features another work of artist Fra’Angelico which was painted in 1436. The museum also displays the work of Giuseppe Maria Crespi called the Ecstasy of Saint Margaret. People can also visit the villa Bramasole where the movie TuscanSun was shot in 2003.

6. Florence

Florence
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Florence is located in central Italy and is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance by many scholars. It now hosts some of the most remarkable works of that period. The infamous Uffizi Gallery exhibits works of Botticelli, Da Vinci, and Caravaggio. Visitors are advised to reserve their entrance in advance as it is one of the most visited art galleries of the world and it remains quite crowded.

Another site for tourist attraction is the dome-shaped cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo. Even after 600 years of its existence, it is the largest dome built. People may also be interested to visit the church of San Lorenzo which contains the mausoleum of the Medici family- Medici Chapel.

7. Rome

Rome: Italian Renaissance
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Rome is the capital of Italy, is an abode to several Renaissance structures. The most famous Renaissance architecture in Rome is the Piazza del Campidoglio which was built by Antonio de Sangallo and completed by Michelangelo. Works of Caraviaggo can be seen hanging in the churches Our Lady of the People and Church of Saint Augustine.

The Vatican museums are an attraction for people as it displays world-famous art. Another tourist attraction is the Sistine Chapel which is famous for the frescoed ceiling by Michaelangelo and depicting the last supper on the altar wall. 

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8. Pisa

Pisa
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Pisa, as everyone knows, is infamous for its Leaning Tower. But, there are other Renaissance structures that attract people in this city. One of them is the Piazza del Duomo, also known, s as Piazza Dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles). It is house to the Duomo (the Cathedral), the Baptistry and the Campo Santo (the monumental cemetery).

Another place of attraction is the Palazzo Reale aka the Royal Palace which belonged to the Caetani patrician family. It is famous as it is the place where Galileo Galilei showed the planets he discovered with his telescope to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The palace is now a museum.

 9. Siena

Siena: Italian Renaissance
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Siena is Italy’s one of the most visited places. It has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is infamous for the Palio horse race. Tourist attractions around the city include Piazza del Campo which is a shell-shaped town square. It is surrounded by Palazzo Pubblico and its Torre del Mangia. All of these structures display a fine work of architecture.

Palazzo Pubblico contains an important art museum that displays some finest frescoes by Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti and also the infamous frescoes depicting the Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti’si.

10. Genoa

Genoa
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Also known as Genova, Genoa is the sixth-largest city of Italy. One of the famous tourist attractions of the city is San Lorenzo Cathedral which has a marvelous portal and dome designed by Galeazzo Alessi. The Lanterna, which is an infamous lighthouse of Genoa, is another attraction for the visitors. This old and upright lighthouse is visible across a distance of 30km beyond the sea. The city is also famous as the home of Christopher Columbus.

The Christopher Columbus House, where he is said to have lived as a child is located outside the city walls. The building was destroyed by the French naval bombing of 1684 and the current building was reconstructed in the 18th-century.

11. Mantua

Mantua: Italian Renaissance
flickr: Jennefer

Mantua is known as the Italian capital of culture. Apart from its architectural excellence, artifacts, and renaissance structures, the city is also notable for its crucial role in opera. Out of many mesmerizing monuments, one of them is the Palazzo Ducale which was once the residence of the Gonzaga family.

The structure has a room, Camera Degli Sposi, which was frescoed by Andrea Mantegna. Another notable structure is Palazzo te where Giulio Romano lived in his last years. This palace is built in Renaissance style and was the summer residential villa of Federick II of Gonzaga. 

12. Verona

Verona
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Verona is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Italy because of the heritage of its artworks and various fairs and shows. The phenomenal architecture and structures have put Verona’s name in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. One of the main attractions from the renaissance is the Verona Urbs Picta. The walls of the palace became canvasses upon which artistic frescos were made by the local painters.

Renaissance architecture in Verona includes structures like the first Renaissance palace of the Veneto: the wonderful Loggia del Consiglio, as well as palaces and monumental works of Michele Sanmicheli. 

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Italy, during the Renaissance, saw the upheaval of many artistic, cultural and architectural marvels. Many of the cities, to date, speaks for the wonders that were created during that era. People who are interested in historical monuments and arts should visit these Italian Renaissance cities to admire the beauty that they behold. If you are going Europe the first time, do read Travel tips for europe for first-timer.

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