Art Lovers’ Around-the-World Summer Tour
In the U.S., summer vacation travelers hit the road with kids in tow, driving locally in search of the perfect day trip or longer distances to take in what the country has to offer. For more adventurous souls, families will board flights and take to the skies, traveling domestically or internationally.
As art lovers, we love combining our vacation time with a chance to step into a local art museum and take a glimpse into a famous masterpiece. If you intend on going beyond the borders of the U.S., don’t miss the opportunity to visit a world-class museum en route.
Here is a shortlist of countries and places any art lover should take the time and visit.
France: The best time to visit France is during the summer months. From Paris to Brittany, from Provence to the French Riviera, there is something for everyone in France. Several museums call France home, most especially The Louvre in Paris. It’s one of the world’s largest museums and the most visited art museum in the world with hundreds of the greatest masterpieces exhibited. One of the world’s most famous, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, is perhaps the highlight of the museum visit. Also at the Louvre: da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks, as well as works by Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio… the list is enormous – and priceless. At the Musée d’Orsay also in Paris, many other famous paintings reside. Cezanne’s The Hanged Man’s House, The Card Players, The Blue Vase and many of his other works hang there. Also: several paintings by Edgar Degas, including his The Ballet Class and the Ballet Rehearsal, as well as Paul Gaugin, and a plethora of works by Claude Monet all hang here. Of course, upon visiting France, one must visit Monet’s Giverny!
From France, it’s a quick Chunnel ride over to England…
United Kingdom: Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh hangs in the National Gallery; Salvador Dali’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus at the Tate Modern Museum, and many other artists hang in the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as other museums throughout the United Kingdom – especially in this year of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. (See previous post: London – Art Gets the Royal Treatment for a robust rundown).
Italy: The Eternal City of Rome is also one of the dedicated art lover destinations on the Top 5 list. History and art are everywhere. One can’t walk a step without being immersed in the ghosts of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Caravaggio. From frescoes to sculptures, from painted ceilings to paintings, Rome is steeped in perhaps the richest art history in the world. The Vatican Museums boasts the most masterpieces, whether painted or sculpted (The Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican Museums) and the Borghese Gallery, although not the largest museum, possesses many works by Caravaggio. And, of course, churches and chapels also hold some of the world’s richest treasures as well, such as Michelangelo’s Pieta inside St. Peter’s Basilica.
Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list of countries to visit rich in art, just a jumpstart on planning. Spain, Greece, The Netherlands, Germany all rank high for art lover summer destinations!