Scrovengi Chapel

12:37:00 PM Unknown 2 Comments

The Scrovengi Chapel, nick named the Arena Chapel because it was built on the site of a Roman arena, was built for Enrico Scrovengi around 1300.  It is said to have been constructed as a means to make reparations (aka buy salvation) to God because the family profession of usury was considered a sin. So well known and successful had the family been that Enrico's father was cast into hell by Dante in the Inferno.  Whether a demonstration of piety or not not, you've got to see the inside of this unassuming chapel. Painted by the early Renaissance artist & architect Giotto, it is considered his masterpiece.

The Details
Address: Piazza Eremitani 8 35121 Padova, Italy
Parking: Parking was tough to find, be sure to allow extra time. We found paid parking along the street about 1/2 mile from the chapel.
Hours: 9am-7pm in Jan, Feb, 16-30 June, July, November, 16-31 Dec
Cost: €13 adults, €6 children/youth
Time: Visit is strictly controlled, 20 minutes.
Tip:  Only 25 people are allowed to enter the chapel at a time.  Arrive early to collect tickets, ticket collection is at the museum, not the chapel. We were late (because of parking) and were almost denied entrance. Reservations are mandatory, and there are strict rules for entering. Read the details and make reservation here.

                                                    Photos are not allowed, so I swiped these from the internet forgive the quality.

Before we moved to Germany I bought a lecture series on European art from The Great Courses which is how I even discovered this little gem. On our drive down to Italy we watched the lecture on the Scrovengi Chapel which gave detailed descriptions of every panel in the church. It taught us how to read the panels-- from left to right and top to bottom, the cycle tells two stories; on the left, the life of Mary and on the right, the life of Christ with the Last Judgement on the back wall--and I it helped my girls get more out of the visit because they understood what they were looking at.  I can't tell you how delighted I was when Eden (6) found her favorite panel and pointed it out to me.  Kids CAN get into art if you just nudge them along.  

This panel of the betrayal is my favorite--Despite the flatness of the painting the scene looks alive to me.  I can feel the action.

This image of Mary and Christ was a close second favorite. She yearns to touch and feel the Savior, yet he affectionally keeps her at a distance.  

This is a scene from the last judgement.  If you look closely at the bottom, left of the cross you can see the Enrico presenting his church to the angels.  Did it work, did he get into heaven? I guess we'll have to wait and see.  


  1. Looks as if it is a a very interesting chapel to visit. Lovely inside views even if you were not alllowed to take them.