See the artworks of Michelangelo

From Tuscany to Texas: tracing the artworks and paintings of Michelangelo

Prepare to feel inferior. And inspired.

Admit it. For those of us who grew up in the UK and US, there’s a good chance you first encountered ‘Michelangelo the Mutant Ninja Turtle’ rather than Michelangelo the iconic, Renaissance-era artist after whom the pizza-guzzling crime fighter was named. 

But we’re older now, and wiser. 

In truth, Michelangelo the artist (1475 – 1564) remains one of the world’s most venerated creators; a Florentine native whose genius with paintbrush, pencil and chisel came to define the canon of the European High Renaissance. From the physical perfection of David to the gnarly Torment of St. Anthony, Michelangelo dedicated his long and industrious life to the beautification of the bible and the liturgy of the Catholic church. And despite a (supposed) rivalry with Leonardo da Vinci, his work has more than stood the test of time, and we’re happy to report that, unlike his famous Tuscan frenemy, many of Michelangelo’s works remain on display to this day.

So read on to find out where you can see Michelangelo’s artworks for yourself, on a journey that will take you all the way from Tuscany to Texas. And in honour of his green-shelled counterpart, we’ll throw in some of our favourite food and pizza recommendations to boot. Cowabunga, etc.

First things first: the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo began work on the decoration of the many-faceted ceiling of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel in 1508 – by the commission of Pope Julius II. Across its awe-inspiring vault, the Italian maestro would depict intricate scenes from the Creation of Adam (the hand of God stretched out to meet that of our earliest ancestor), as well as other complementary moments that he drew from the Book of Genesis. Famously, Michelangelo wrapped the work up in just four short years. Let that sink in.

Upon entering this reverential space, you’ll be met by a heavy and deepening hush; the sound of whispers inflated to bellows while shoes scuff over the time-worn slabs of stone which line the chapel’s floor. Breathe deep, crane your neck, and drink it in.

After your spiritual encounter at the Vatican, slope off to Trattoria da Cesare al Casaletto to enjoy the cult-like status of its cacio e pepe and a chilled glass of Sangiovese. Don’t fear; there are plenty of nearby churches in which to confess your glutinous sins.


Sistine chapel

But is it really by Michelangelo? Yes, probably.

You’d be forgiven for imagining that much of Michelangelo’s work has a home in Rome. That’s because it does. And yet certain key works have made their way out of the eternal city, including his Florence-based Crucifixion of 1492. While its provenance and history remain rather foggy, scholars are confident that the polychrome wooden sculpture was produced by Michelangelo in his youth. It is remarkable for its sincere simplicity and for the fact that Christ is depicted naked.

Located in Florence’s plainly arresting Santo Spirito, a new display means you can view the 1.4-metre crucifix better than ever before. Our Italian trio itinerary is the perfect way to have a peek while enjoying a few nights at the stunning Hotel Continentale, or taking a guided tour of the insanely inspiring Uffizi Gallery.

Call me David

Aside from the unforgettable beauty of Rome’s Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s David remains one of the world’s best-known works of art. This striking statue – which depicts the biblical conqueror of giant Goliath – has a home in Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia, where it is displayed beneath a skylight specially designed by 19th-century Italian architect Emilio de Fabris. Oh, and Michelangelo started working on David when he was only 26. Casual, casual.

Florence – otherwise known as the home of the Renaissance – is not bothered about the doughy trappings of pizza. Head to Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori instead for a hearty meal of proper Tuscan fare. A note on the menu starkly observes: no pizza, no ice, no cappuccino. Them’s the rules.

See Michelangelo artworks in Italy

In Bruges

Only one of Michelangelo’s artworks made its way out of Italy during his lifetime; the Madonna of Bruges (1504). Donated to the Belgian city’s Church of Our Lady, the work is notable for its remarkable tenderness; depicting a mother’s sorrow for what is to become of Jesus, her own son. Looted by soldiers during the French Revolution and again during World War II, the statue was – eventually – returned and continues to enjoy pride of place in this remarkable 13th-century church. 

For those who want to travel the Low Countries in style, we offer an art-fuelled adventure which will take you from Berlin to Amsterdam. Ask our Travel Experts about taking a cultured stop-off in charming Bruges.

Taken aback in Texas

A select handful of Michelangelo’s paintings and artworks have made it beyond even Europe. The Torment of Saint Anthony (1487), which some claim was produced by the artist when he was but 13 years old, is housed in the Kimbell Art Museum, Texas. This is a ghoulish work based on an engraving by fifteenth-century German master Martin Schongauer. The story goes that, while living in the Egyptian desert, Saint Anthony the Great had a vision in which he levitated into the air and was attacked by demons, whose torments he withstood. 

Take your mind off the poor saint’s troubles with our immersive road-trip experience through the Lone Star State. Expect ranches, Mustangs, and rock’n’roll.


Our Italian itineraries offer the perfect opportunity to experience the triptych of art, culture and cuisine. Browse our more detailed experiences and trips below.