Italy has long been a centre of art and culture and some of the finest art galleries in the world can be found here. A visit to Rome or Florence will bring you into close contact with some of the greatest paintings and sculptures the world has ever seen.

The Italian Renaissance started in the 14th century and one of the leading figures in this movement is Giotto de Bondone. He chosen to reject the Byzantine way of painting, looking to add a little more dimension and personality to his works. His work can be seen in Padua’s Scrovegni Chapel and in the cathedral at Florence and it is known that he was a strong influence on artists who came in his wake.

One of these was Masaccio. He completed a fresco called ‘The Tribute Money’ at the Brancacci Chapel. He is considered to be the first artist of the Quattrocento period, which was in the 15th century. Masaccio used a series of different methods to introduce more realism in his work.

Donatello is an instantly recognisable name. He was an artist of the early part of the Renaissance. He worked to create more realism in his art too. He created the brass pulpits in San Lorenzo’s Old Sacristy and a statue of the young David.

Michelangelo Buonarroti was a leading artist at the time of the High Renaissance. He worked as a painter, sculptor, poet and architect. He created the renowned statue of David and was the St Peter’s Basilica architect when he was 74 years old.

Leonardo da Vinci is probably the most famous Italian artist ever. He is considered to be a real master who studied and worked to create the most realistic pieces of art that he could. He was also an inventor, mathematician and cartographer. His ‘Mona Lisa’ is housed in the Louvre gallery in Paris.