The Arena Chapel (Cappella Scrovegni)

Enrico Scrovegni of Padua, ambitious son of the rich Reginaldo, whom Dante Alighieri had consigned to hell as a usurer in his "Divine Comedy", was planning to build a palace and a private chapel. To this end, in the year 1300, he purchased a large piece of land in the area around the Roman amphitheatre - known as the Arena. Of these impressive buildings, only the single-nave church remains. Constructed using clear, simple forms, it is referred to mostly as the "Arena Chapel" after its location, or as the "Scrovegni Chapel" after its donor. The redemption of his father and the saving of his own soul were his foremost considerations when making this donation. The church was therefore dedicated on 16 March 1305 to Saint Mary of Charity.

Today, it is Giotto's frescoes in the interior of the chapel which reflect the honour of the donor most of all, and it is the fact that he is portrayed on the side of the Blessed at the Last Judgment that has recorded his face for posterity.


Visit the Chapel and view the fresco decoration in detail.