Visit the homes of Italians: Verdi, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and others

Museums Someone Lived In

[Regions of Italy]

Click below for the area that interests you:
| Alto Adige | Campania | Emilia Romagna |Lombardy | Marche | Piedmont | Sardinia |
| Sicily | Tuscany | Veneto | Val D'Aosta |

One of the reasons the B&B experience has been so successful is that it takes you into a real home, where you can actually experience the local lifestyle. It's sort of like your own personal history and sociology lesson, and it's definitely more fascinating than tromping through the streets trying to read a guidebook.

Even if you're not a B&B kind of person, Italy is loaded with homes you can visit. Some were the studios of your favorite artists, others were the luxurious showplaces of local aristocrats, still others were the humble abodes of obscure peasants. A visit to any will add an enjoyable break to your trip's "monumental" sightseeing schedule.

  • Bolzano: Castle Runkelstein. Open Tues.-Sun. 10am-6pm and boasting the greatest cycle of medieval frescoes with secular themes; they are beautifully preserved inside this 13th-century fortress dominating a breathtaking valley.

Titian's House, Pieve di Cadore
  • Castelfranco Veneto: House of Giorgione, Piazzetta del Duomo. Open Tuesday and Fri-Sun.
  • Arquà Petrarca: Petrarch's House. Open Tues-Sun. Worth a visit, even if only for the spectacular drive to this teensy village where Petrarch spent the last 4 years of his life.
  • Pieve di Cadore: Titian's House, Via Arsenale. Open Tues-Sun, mid-June-mid-Sept.

Fenis Castle in the town of Fenis
  • Fenis: Castle. Open Wed-Mon 9-12 and 2-5 (6 in summer). One of the greatest feudal residences in the entire alpine area, with a lovely fresco cycle and fantastic mountain views.
  • Issogne: Castle. Open daily, March-Sept. A sumptuous aristocratic residence filled with frescoes and implements showing the daily life of the "ordinary" local residents.

Alfieri House, Asti
  • Alagna Valsesia: Walser Home. Open mid-August every day; July on Sat and Sun; other months by appointment. 17th-century farmer's home.
  • Saluzzo: Casa Cavazza. Open April-Sept 9-12 and 3-6; other months 9-12:15 and 2-5:15. An early 15th-century aristocratic home that exudes Renaissance flavor.
  • Asti: Vittorio Alfieri's House, Corso Alfieri 475. Open Tues-Fri 10-12 and 3-6, Sat and Sun 10-12. And just down the street at #357 is another aristocratic mansion, Palazzo Mazzetti, which also houses the municipal museum.

Gabriele d'Annunzio's Vittoriale,
Gardone Riviera
  • Mantova: Mantegna's House, Via Acerbi 47. Open Mon-Sat 9-12:30, Mon and Thurs also 3-6.
  • Gardone Riviera: Il Vittoriale, House of Gabriele D'Annunzio. Open 8:30-12 and 2-5. The lavishly decorated rooms of the poet, playwright and flamboyant patriot form one of the most unforgettable residences in Europe. (Not to be confused with the Vittoriale degli Italiani or the Museo Dannunziano). Here is a lodging nearby.
  • Bergamo: Donizetti's House, Via Arena 9. Open Mon-Fri 8:30-12 and 2-5:30.

Giuseppe Verdi's studio,
Casa Barezzi, Busseto
  • Sant'Agata: Villa Verdi. Check the website for opening hours of the house where Giuseppe Verdi lived and wrote Il Trovatore, La Traviata, La Forza del Destino, Don Carlos, Aida and Falstaff. There's also a replica of the Milanese room where the composer died. Also recommended are Casa Barezzi in Busseto (tel. 011-39-0524-931117), where you can see a model of his studio; and Casa Natale di Verdi, the composer's birthplace, in Roncole Verdi.
  • Ferrara: Ariosto's House, Via Ariosto. Open Tues-Sun am. Not surprisingly, this 16th-century house has an interesting library.
  • Ferrara: Casa Romei, Via Savonarola 30. Open Tues-Sun 8:30-2 (ring doorbell if closed). This 15th-century home of a wealthy merchant combines medieval and Renaissance styles. Click here for lodgings in Ferrara.

Rossini's birthplace, Pesaro
  • Pesaro: Rossini's Birthplace, Via Rossini 34. Open April-Oct 10-12 and 2-4; Sun 10-12.
  • Urbino: Raphael's House, Via Raffaello. Open April-Sept, Mon-Sat 9-1 and 3-7, Sun 9-1; Nov-March, Tues-Sun 9-1. Closed in February.

Boccaccio's House, Certaldo
  • Anchiano: Leonardo da Vinci's Birthplace.
  • Certaldo: Boccaccio's House, Via di Boccaccio.
  • Lucca: Giacomo Puccini's Birthplace and Museum, Corte San Lorenzo 9. Open Wednesday-Monday 10am-6pm from April 1 to October 31, and 11am-5pm the rest of the year. Memorabilia galore, including costumes, sets, the composer's piano, and much more!
  • Arezzo: Vasari's Home, Via XX Settembre 55. Open Mon-Sat 8:30-7, Sun 8:30-1:30. Exceptionally well decorated 16th-century home.
  • Elba: Napoleon's Summer Home, Villa San Martino, Portoferraio. Open Wed-Mon 9-1 and 3-6 (summer); 9-2 (winter). The Emperor's library, some personal effects and several haunting frescoes about his life.
  • Vespignano: Giotto's House.
  • Sant'Andrea in Percussina: Machiavelli's House. Open Tues-Fri 9-2 and 7-10; Sat 11-7; Sun 9-11 and 4:30-10. Furnished as it was when he wrote The Prince here.
  • Florence: Casa Buonarroti, Via Ghibellina 70. Open Wed-Mon. Several portraits and lots of Michelangelo's personal belongings.
  • Florence: Dante's House, Via Santa Margherita 1. Open Thurs-Tues 9:20-12:30, 3:30-6:30.
  • Livorno: Amedeo Modigliani's Home, Via Roma 38.
Villa San Michele, Capri
  • Anacapri: Villa San Michele. Open daily 9-3:30 (Jan-Feb); 9-5 (March, April, Nov); 9-6 (other months). Though some say Axel Munthe had many of its "authentic" antiquities made for him, this is still one of Italy's most romantic homes, with beautiful gardens and views. Click here for lodgings in Anacapri.
  • Sorrento: Correale Museum, Via Correale. Sumptuous regional furnishings from the 1400s to the 1700s, in an 18th-century villa. Click here for lodgings in Sorrento.

Bellini's House, Catania
  • Palazzolo Acreide: Casa Museo, Via Machiavelli 19. Open Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sat, Sun mornings. Peasant home with olive press and farming implements.
  • Caos: Playwright Luigi Pirandello's House. Open daily 9-12:30 and 2:30-5.
  • Catania: Vincenzo Bellini's House. Piazza San Francesco. Open Mon-Sat 9-1; Fri 4:30-7:30, Sun 9-7:30. The composer's personal belongings, including several original scores.
  • Cianciana: Sicilian Memorial Museum, with recreations of peasant homes, and exhibits about the life style and livelihood of Sicilians in days gone by.

Giuseppe Garibaldi's House
  • Caprera: Garibaldi's House. Open Tues-Sun 9-6:30. After the Roman Republic was dissolved and his wife Anita died, the great Italian patriot retired here to live out his days until his death in 1882. Click here for lodgings near Caprera.

[Regions of Italy]