See some of Giotto’s finest frescoes in person in the breathtakingly beautiful interior of this 14th-century church, which stands in a scenic park.
Scrovegni Chapel is known all over the world for its stunning interior covered in elaborate frescoes created by the master painter Giotto. Be amazed by the scale and detail of these gorgeous artworks. Afterward, explore the pretty park in which the chapel stands. The grounds are perfect for a walk and are also home to the ruins of a Roman arena.
The chapel has an interesting legend behind its construction. It was consecrated in 1305, having been commissioned by the fabulously wealthy local banker Enrico Scrovegni. His father was known for ruthless money-lending practices, which resulted in his being named by Dante in his Divine Comedy as one of the souls suffering in hell for his sins. Convinced that he would be punished in the afterlife for the evil behavior of his father, the younger Scrovegni commissioned this beautiful chapel, hoping the act would count as atonement. Stand outside the church and you will certainly see that this is a beautiful building. Step inside, however, and the true level of Scrovegni’s commitment to his redemption will become clear, as you see the incredible frescoes he commissioned.
Stand in the center of the room and marvel at the rich colors and impeccable execution of the frescoes. The many religious figures depicted stand out sharply against the deep blue of the background, which represents the night sky. In fact, this blue color is carried all the way up to the high ceiling of the chapel, which is scattered with gold stars.
Look closer and appreciate the masterful storytelling that occurs throughout these frescoes. The 38 different scenes each represent a different key event in the lives of Mary and Jesus. The largest fresco representing the final “universal judgment” covers an entire wall.
Walk south from Padova’s main train station and you will reach the Scrovegni Chapel within about 10 minutes. The chapel is open year-round from morning to early evening. After looking inside, consider stopping at some of the many historic churches, cultural sites and museums clustered in the area, starting with the Roman arena in the park itself.