Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) was a famous artist, sculptor, painter, architect, and poet. He was at the forefront of Italy's Renaissance, and he created multiple masterpieces during his lifetime. The majority of these works can still be viewed in Italy, from the sculpture of David in Florence to the Sistine Chapel ceiling at the Vatican. While his works are primarily in Rome, Vatican City, and Tuscany, there are a few other pieces scattered throughout the country. Art enthusiasts will want to tour the entire Michelangelo trail.
Michelangelo's best-known masterpieces are the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Visit the Vatican City to get a glimpse of the frescoes and the Pietà in Saint Peter's Basilica. Other architectural and sculptural works are dispersed throughout churches and squares in Rome. Don't miss the marble Moses sculpture he made for the tomb of Pope Julius II which is located within the San Pietro in Vincoli, a church near the Colosseum.
One of Michelangelo's most famous sculptures, David, is located in the Galleria dell'Accademia. His other contributions in Florence comprise several pieces for the Medici, including a church, sculptures, and paintings. Visit Casa Buonarroti, Michelangelo's former home on Via Ghibellina. Today, it is a small museum that contains some of his sculptures and sketches, including two of Michelangelo's early relief sculptures.
The artist was born in Tuscany in the small town of Caprese, near Arezzo, in 1475. Travelers can visit this rustic town to get a feel for his humble beginnings and see the Museo Michelangiolesco, where there are original casts of Michelangelo's sculptures as well as artworks inspired by the master. Caprese is located two hours southeast of Florence, so it's worth staying overnight to see all the sights.
Michelangelo used pure, white marble from the quarries of Carrara to carve his most famous sculptures. A visit to Carrara, a town and province in northwest Tuscany, allows travelers to see the marble quarries and the type of tools Michelangelo used in order to transform pieces of rock into artistic treasures. Carrara is only 60 miles northwest of Florence, making it an easy day trip for those who have the time.
Minor works by the master can be found in Siena's stunning Duomo. The cathedral contains four statues by Michelangelo, including an early statue of St. Paul whose likeness bears resemblance to the artist. Just make sure not to visit Siena during the annual Palio horse race in the main piazza on July 2 and August 16, unless you're willing to battle the crowds.
Although Milan is better known for housing one of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous works, The Last Supper, it is also home to Michelangelo's last sculpture. The Rondanini Pietà, an elongated marble composition of the Virgin Mary holding a dying Jesus, is located in the Castello Sforzesco.