The ‘Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle’ Fresco Museum is located on the site of a convent that dates back to the 13th century. The simple Church of San Francesco al Corso was erected in 1230 and, together with the adjacent convent, was home to a community of Conventual Franciscans. When in 1257 the friars moved to a more prestigious church in San Fermo Maggiore, the place was taken over by the sisters of the Monastery of Santa Maria di Zevio. In 1366, the few nuns left adhered to the Benedictine rule, but by 1447 the convent had been abandoned and so, it was dissolved and merged with the Church of Santo Spirito.
It would take one century before another community flourished again within these walls. In 1548, the complex was destined for the accommodation of female converts and spinsters who could no longer stay in the nearby Monastery of Santissima Trinità. These women (ex-prostitutes, miswed, abandoned wives, girls with no dowry) were therefore called Franciscan Nuns. In 1624, lightning struck a nearby gunpowder magazine in Torre della Paglia, along the ancient city walls. The terrible explosion that followed seriously damaged and destroyed many of the surrounding buildings; the church and part of the Convent of San Francesco were rebuilt from foundations in the shape that they still have today.
This century-old story came to a halt at the beginning of the nineteenth century when, following the Napoleonic decrees of the Kingdom of Italy, many monasteries were dissolved and decreed state property. Also the complex of the Franciscan nuns shared this fate and was partly destined for military use, partly for welfare institutions. The subsequent abandonment and the damage caused by bombing during World War II posed a serious threat to its existence. Fortunately, in the 1960s, greater awareness of the importance of preserving cultural heritage led to the restoration of the church and the convent and the decision to use them as museums. The museum, named after Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle, was inaugurated In 1973.
Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle (Legnago, Verona, 1819 – Rome 1897) can be considered the father of modern art history in Italy. Even today, his studies on ancient Italian and Flemish painting, written in collaboration with an Englishman named Joseph Archer Crowe, are of fundamental importance. He also actively dealt with issues such as conservation and restoration, museum setup, the cataloguing of art pieces, and the reform of academic teaching, advancing ideas of exemplary concreteness and intelligence.
open on Mondays from 1.30pm to 7.30pm
Tuesday to Sunday from 8.30am to 7.30pm
(last admission at 6.30pm)
- full price: € 4,50
- reduced for groups, senior citizens (over 60) and students: € 3,00
- reduced for schools/children 8-14 years (only if accompanied): € 1,00
- combined Juliet’s Tomb/full-price Juliet’s House: € 7,00 – reduced: € 5,00
- free admission: senior residents of the City of Verona (over 65) – disabled people and their carers – children up to 7 years of age – with VeronaCard pass