Visiting the Scrovegni Chapel, Giotto's masterpiece in Padua

Visiting the Scrovegni Chapel, Giotto’s masterpiece in Padua

The Scrovegni Chapel in Padua is a place of great popularity. Here, in fact, is preserved one of the most famous painting cycles created by Giotto and his school. The work represents one of the greatest examples of Western figurative art, a revolutionary and marvellous work. Every year thousands of tourists come to Padua to visit this unique place and admire what is considered Giotto’s masterpiece.


The History of the Scrovegni Chapel

The official name of this building would be ‘Santa Maria della Carità‘. “Scrovegni’ is the surname of the commissioner of the work, Enrico degli Scrovegni, a banker, politician and patron of the arts from Padua. His father, Rinaldo degli Scrovegni, was a man of great fame at the time, even though this was not the best: Dante had put him in Inforno for his activities as a usurer. According to some rumours, Enrico commissioned the Scrovegni Chapel to ‘expiate’ his father’s sins. In reality, it seems that Enrico had followed in his father’s footsteps, leveraging his monetary activities to pursue a career in politics. Building such a church was a way of ingratiating himself with papal power, gaining a very important political ally. The banker spared no expense to realise the work and relied on the greatest painter of the time, the Tuscan Giotto di Bondone.


Giotto’s revolution in Padua

Giotto frescoed the entire cycle in the chapel of Santa Maria della Carità in just two years, in the period between 1303 and 1305. The frescoes cover the entire interior surface of the building, representing the History of Salvation. On the triumphal arch and along the aisles we see the Stories of the Life of the Virgin and Christ. On the main walls we find the representation of the Vices and Virtues, with a representation of the Last Judgement on the counter façade. The work is majestic and revolutionary. Giotto introduces, in fact, various elements of perspective, beginning to propose a rendering of the third dimension that will anticipate the pictorial theories of the Renaissance by more than a hundred years. Human beings are represented in their most concrete physicality, animated by real passions, joys and sorrows. As of 2021, the frescoes of the Scrovegni Chapel are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Visiting the Scrovegni Chapel: information and useful tips

To visit the Scrovegni Chapel it is advisable to book in advance. The ticket office is about 100 m from the site, at the entrance to the Musei Civici agli Eremitani in Piazza Eremitani n.8. It is necessary to be at the entrance of the Chapel at least 5 minutes before the time indicated on the ticket. The visit lasts 15 minutes. In the event of a delay, it will not be possible to enter once the tour has started, but it will be necessary to pay a new ticket and enter the next guided tour. Each tour is for groups of no more than 10 persons, including a guide. These restrictions are due to the fact that the interior of the Scrovegni Chapel is protected and micro-climatised. The entrance and exit doors cannot therefore be opened except at set times. It is possible to take photographs inside the building, as long as you do not use flash and do not touch the paintings. It is not permitted to enter with pets, bags, food and drink.


Discover Padua and its treasures

In addition to the splendid Giottesque chapel, the centre of Padua has much to offer its visitors. This is the case with the majestic Basilica of Sant’Antonio da Padova, the Palazzo Bo, the Palazzo della Ragione and the Musei Civici Eremitani. Not only that, the Veneto city also boasts grand squares, such as the Piazza dei Signori. The Prato della Valle square in Padua is one of the largest and most impressive in Europe. Find out more about this fascinating city, book your City Sightseeing Padua tour now. Buy your train Trenitalia ticket to Padua with Forexchange!


Photo Credits:
Hugo DK, Wikimedia