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Arts and Culture for Expats in Italy

Submitted: March 2014

Although she was acquired by the French and has since been housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Mona Lisa is perhaps one of the most iconic displays of Italian Art. This boot-shaped peninsula in Southern Europe has a rich artistic tradition. Italy is indeed an ideal place for the art enthusiast and even the dilettante seeking to deepen his knowledge. With Italy holding the record for the most Unesco Heritage Sights of any country in the world (49), Italy is perfect destination for those with an appetite for arts and culture.

The Italian peninsula houses the independent republic of San Marino as well as the independent city-state known as Vatican City. Paradoxically, the Vatican City which is the smallest country in the world is the sanctuary for some of the world’s seminal works of Art.  The Sistine Chapel is known most famously known for Michelangelo’s magnificently frescoed ceiling. It is estimated that around five million people visit the Sistine Chapel each year.  It is definitely worth craning your neck to experience this breathtaking fresco, which depicts stories from the Old Testament in the Bible such as the Creation Story and the story of Noah. Although Michaelangelo’s work is perhaps the most well known fresco in the Sistine Chapel, it is not the only work therein. Botticelli was one of several artists who were commissioned to paint the walls of the Chapel. This main attraction is definitely worth a visit.



The Uffizi Gallery is one of Florence’s top attractions. It is one of the world’s oldest art museums and houses paintings by some of Italy’s top artists such as Da Vinci, Rafaello, Carvaggio and Botticelli. The Uffizi is a must see attraction for anyone with an interest in art dating back from between the 14th Century and the 18th Century.


Archaeological Sites

The city of Pompeii, located a few miles near modern Naples, affords visitors a peek into an ancient civilization. It is well-known that Mount Vesuvius wiped out the city of Pompeii in A.D. 79 and it remained covered in a blanket of ash and rock until the city was rediscovered through excavation efforts in the 16th century. What is unique and about Pompeii is that one can see the actual remains of Pompeii’s sealed in plaster casts and preserved throughout the ages. This iconic monument of the bygone Roman world shows a people frozen in time.


Opera and the Ballet

Italy is indeed a music lover’s dream. One should definitely take the time to enjoy a live performance at one of Italy’s many opera houses. The La Scala opera house in Milan is known for its stunning acoustics and is one of the most famous in the world. Tickets for the various performances can be purchased online at https://www.teatroallascala.org/en/

The Teatro di San Carlo in Naples , built in 1737, is known as the world’s oldest working theatre and is also worth a visit. For more information on opera and ballet tickets visit their website https://www.teatrosancarlo.it/



One would not have to convince the automobile enthusiast that Italy has some of the best works of living art in the form of cars. The Lamborghini museum is located between Bologna and Modena in an area called “Terra dei Motori”(Motor Valley). Reservations must be made before visiting the museum. They can be made online at https://www.lamborghini.com/en/museum/reservation/.



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