Are you missing a bit of culture from your daily routine? We certainly are. The world and Europe especially, is full to the brim of culture, whether it’s art, history or music.
We’ve been on a virtual culture trip and found some of Europe’s best known spots, all of which are offering you the chance to visit and experience their magnificence from the comfort of your own home. Enjoy!
Vienna State Opera House, Austria
The Vienna State Opera House is unsurprisingly, located in the centre of Vienna and is one of the leading opera houses in the world. However, the opera house hasn’t had the smoothest of histories and has been through a lot of trauma to achieve the beauty and reputation it has today.
Opened in 1869, the Opera House was planned and designed by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll both of whom sadly died, before the opening. The Opera House grew in popularity over the years leading up to WW2, however from 1938-1945 a dark chapter began. Under the Nazis, many members of the house were driven out, pursued, and killed, and many works were not allowed to be played. On March 12, 1945, the opera house was devastated during a bombing. For the next ten years the Vienna State Opera operated in two venues while the true headquarters was being rebuilt at a great expense.
Today, the schedule features 350 performances of more than 60 different operas and ballets. Luckily for us, as we can’t visit at this time, the opera house has put together a schedule of live performances that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
The Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Italy
The Vatican Museum is located in the Vatican City, which is the smallest country in the world. It is an independent city-state, covering just over 100 acres. To put that in context, it is only one-eighth of the size of New York’s Central Park! It is governed by the Catholic Church and the Pope sits at the head. Believe it or not, the Vatican City even prints its own stamps, issues its own passports and has its own flag and anthem.
The Vatican Museum is known as the museum of museums. It houses 26 museums, including the famous Sistine Chapel. These museums contain the world’s largest private art collection, gathered by the Popes over centuries dating back to the early 16th century. The purpose of these museums are to share religious beliefs through art including music, architecture, sculpture and painting.
The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
The colosseum is located in the centre of Rome. It is the main symbol of the city and hard to miss at a height of 48 metres, 188 metres long and 156 metres wide, covering around 6 acres of the city.
The colosseum was built over 2000 years ago during the rule of emperor Titus, it’s purpose was to entertain the Roman people. Its finest spectacles included exhibitions of exotic animals, executions of prisoners, recreations of battles and of course the famous gladiator fights. To unveil the Colosseum to the Roman people, emperor Titan arranged 100 days of games, which took the life of more than 2000 gladiators!
Today, the Colosseum is, along with the Vatican City, Rome's greatest tourist attraction. In 2007, it became one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Ancient city of Pompeii, Italy
A Roman city frozen in time. Pompeii is an ancient Roman city located close to Naples in southern Italy, inhabited since at least 700 BCE. This city is famous today, due to the preservation of its features after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79CE which covered the whole city in 4 to 6 metres of volcanic Ash. The eruption killed everyone living in Pompeii, however it clearly preserved the elaborate ancient city.
In the 18th century, nearly 1700 years later, the city was uncovered and what was found was pretty unbelievable. Due to the work of many excavationists and archeologists, today, you can see many ancient sculptures and Roman architecture. It’s heartbreaking to see the bodies of those who lost their lives in the disaster, their faces and bodies showing the utter shock and fear that was before them. The Amphitheatre remains and is the oldest stone building of its kind that has ever been discovered. It’s the small things, that archeologists have discovered over the years, that give an insight into Roman life. For example, if you look closely at the paving stones in the main forum area, and in the stones of the walls, phallic symbols point the way to the tiny brothels that populated the busiest area of the ancient city.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna, Austria
The Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien is located directly opposite the Natural History Museum in the large public square, Maria-Theresien-Platz, in the centre of Vienna. Both of these famous museums were opened around 1891, by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria Hungary.
What makes Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien special, is its collection of classic, Renaissance, old masters’ and Baroque art from ancient Egypt to the late 18th century. Its collections of fine and decorative art consist of Egyptian antiques, Greek and Roman jewelry, coin collections, a library of rare books and manuscripts and most famously, a picture collection filled with the works of many artists from across Europe.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
The Uffizi gallery is a prominent art museum in the centre of the beautiful city of Florence. It is considered the most important Italian museum and one of the most stunning art collections in the world.
It is home to masterpieces by some of the greatest artists of all time, including Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael, among others. However, it wasn’t always intended for this purpose. The building that houses the gallery dates back to 1560 when it was being used as administrative and legal offices. Its transformation began when Frances I came to power and commissioned the architect Bernardo Buontalenti to add a gallery on the top of the building to store his precious paintings and sculptures. The gallery grew over the years under many other leaders and finally it was opened to the public in 1769 and officially became and art museum.