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Art and Culture around Italy

In Italy, almost everywhere you look there's a beautiful monument or building, combining the old with the new, or the extraordinary with the mundane. As well as big cities like Rome and Milan that are world-renowned for their cultural scenes, many smaller towns have excellent art galleries and cultural gems to unearth. If you're not sure where to start on your search for art and culture in Italy, read on to find out.

Sardinian street art

To view some of the best street art in Italy, head to Sardinia. Reminiscent of early 20th-century Spanish murals, the street art in Orgosolo, a two-hour drive away from Alghero, is certainly not what you'd expect to find adorning an isolated small town's walls.

They are stunning, and demonstrate that not all of Italy's art and culture has to be steeped in the history of the Rennaissance or further back in time.

Where east meets west

Venice is spoilt when it comes to beauty. Vivaldi lived, composed and taught here, while Casanova spent most of his life trying to get back to the city that had expelled him. The haunting beauty of the crumbling palazzos overlooking most of the canals can be breathtaking. Yet, if it hadn't been for Venice's colonisation of Crete and trade with Turkey, St Mark's wouldn't be as fascinating, the Doges wouldn't have become so wealthy and Venice quite possibly wouldn't be so beautiful.

The Venice biennale, the international art festival, is just one occasion in this extraordinary city where the beauty of a very old city operates as a canvas for the very new. The same can be said for the Venice Film festival which is rated as highly as those of Cannes or Berlin, where innovation and originality are warmly commended.

Contemporary culture thrives in Italy

You only have to look at the films of 1960s master Fellini to see how the history and art of Italy works as a magnificent backdrop for contemporary films. More recently, the Robert Downey Jnr film Only You used Positano as its setting - and the list continues.

If you watched the wonderful serialisation of the Inspector Montalbano books on BBC Four recently, you only have to take a two-hour drive away from Castelmola to see the charms of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ragusa, where much of the series was shot. It's a case of the Baroque meets the 21st century, and is well worth exploring.

The art of landscape

Italy has some of the best art galleries in the world, and if you're a lover of the Rennaissance or the Baroque then you'll be seduced by the work that you'll see in Florence, Venice or any other major Italian city. Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Boticello, Raphael and so many others painted here and gained their inspiration from the faces of the local people and the landscape.

Of course art doesn't just have to be marked in galleries. It's no wonder that designers like Armani, Versace and Pucci to name but a few, all come from Italy – art and culture has seeped into the Italian DNA. Even if you don't fancy yourself as a culture vulture, you're probably absorbing the beauty of this wonderful country without even realising it. Whether it's a simple lemon tree in Sorrento, the Uffizzi in Florence or the woods and waters of the Italian Lakes, you'll find yourself surrounded by beauty in Italy.

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