A grand tour of the premier art collections of Italy would require an 1000-mile trip from Milan to Rome over to Venice and down to Naples-and then back to Florence-and long hours in line). Now Italy's foremost art publisher has brought these eight art institutions and their history together in a beautiful and elegantly-priced volume.
Here are Italy's premier art institutions presented by their directors, gallery by gallery, including docent selections of major works from each collection, like the Uffizi's Primavera by Botticelli, Leonardo's The Annunciation, and Michaelangelo's Tondo Doni:
* The Egyptian Museum, Turin One of the largest collection of Old Kingdom artifacts outside Egypt
* Galleria dell'Accademia, Venice The premier collection of northern Italian masters includes the Presentation of the Virgin by Titian, Miracle of the Holy Cross by Carpaccio, the Storm by Giorgione, Portrait of a Man by Lotto, and Titian's Peità
* The Uffizi, Florence The world's finest collection of Renaissance masterpieces, among them the Madonna by Giotto, The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello, Pope Leone X by Raphael, and Bacco by Caravaggio
* National Archeological Museum, Naples Italy's best public collection of classical art including ceramics from the Magna Grecia period, statuettes and objects of art from Pompeii and Ercolano, Roman portraiture, and the famous mosaic depicting The Battle of Alexander.
* Palatina Gallery, Florence Beautiful rooms in the Pitti Palace hold masterpieces of Italian Renaissance painting and decorative arts
* Galleria Borghese, Rome Recently restored galleries present paintings by Raphael, Dosso Dossi, and Caravaggio, as well as magnificent sculptures by Bernini and Canova
* Capodimonte Museum and Gallery, Naples Includes both Renaissance and Seicento masterworks, Flemish 16th-century tapestries and interior decorations in rococò style
* Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan Holds masterpieces by Titan, Caravaggio, Canaletto and other North Italian masters including The Marriage of the Virgin by Raphael, The Dead Christ by Mantegna, and The Supper in Emmaus by Caravaggio
Although none are the scale of the Louvre or the Metropolitan, taken together these institutions hold a sizeable part of the Western civilization's art heritage. Each institution has its own place in the history of art in the country that invented the museum, presented here in a sumptuous large-format volume with spectacular views of both the masterpieces and the treasure-buildings that hold them.