Castelvecchio Museum, Verona
The Castelvecchio Museum (Italian: Museo di Castelvecchio) in Verona is an art museum housed in an imposing medieval fortress in the city center and not far from the Arena amphitheater.
Building and site
The museum is located in the Castelvecchio fortress, after which it is named; the fortress took the name “Castelvecchio” (meaning “old castle” in Italian) after the construction of the Castel San Pietro in 1393, which is located nearby.
The castle, an imposing complex marked by seven brick towers, was completed in 1356 as a defensive structure aimed to control the access to the city from the river Adige and converted into a museum in the 1920s.
From 1958 to 1964, the museum was completely renovated and updated after a design by famous Italian architect Carlo Scarpa. Scarpa’s project, which harmoniously combined contemporary building materials, such as bare concrete and steel, with the castle’s medieval architecture, is still widely considered among the best examples of the conversion of a historic building into a modern museum.
The courtyard of the Castelvecchio fortress in Verona. Photo © Riccardo Bianchini / Inexhibit
What to see at the Castelvecchio Museum
The collections of the Castelvecchio Museum comprise paintings, sculptures, jewelry, ceramics, arms, and miniatures, dating from the Middle age to the 18th century.
Sculptures from the 12th to the 15th century are presented in the galleries on the ground floor.
Paintings from the 13th to the 18th century are on display on the first and second floor; notable paintings on show include masterpieces by Pisanello, Jacopo and Giovanni Bellini, Pieter Paul Rubens, Vittore Carpaccio, Andrea Mantegna (such as the famous Holy Family with a Female Saint), Paolo Veronese, Jacopo Tintoretto, and Tiepolo, among others.
The museum also features an interesting collection of arms and armors.
The beautiful courtyard of the museum frequently accommodates works of contemporary art and site-specific installations, such as the famous Garden of lost Footsteps created by Peter Eisenman in 2004.
Andrea Mantegna, The Holy Family with a Female Saint (detail), 1495-1505, tempera on canvas. Photo Darren & Brad.
Additional services and activities
The Castelvecchio museum hosts temporary exhibitions, educational programs, and conferences. The complex also includes a small bookshop.
Castelvecchio Museum, exterior and interior views; photos © Riccardo Bianchini / Inexhibit
Cover image: Castelvecchio Museum, Verona, exterior view; photo © Riccardo Bianchini / Inexhibit
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