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  • Adoration of the Shepherds, Caravaggio, 1609. Museo Regionale, Messina.

    Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

  • The basket of fruit, Caravaggio, 1597-1600. Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan.

    Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

  • Supper at Emmaus, Caravaggio, 1606. Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.

    Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

  • The Vatican, Rome

    Photo by Christopher Czermak via Unsplash

  • Detail of The Inspiration of St Matthew by Caravaggio in the Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

  • St John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta, Malta

    Photo by Boguslaw Garbacz licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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Tour Director

  • Journey through Milan, Rome, Naples, Sicily and Malta, tracing the life and career of one of history’s finest painters: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

  • View a range of the artist’s masterpieces from different parts of his career, during visits to churches and galleries

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of Caravaggio’s life, and explore his legacy and technique, including his signature use of chiaroscuro

"This was a great tour. I am so glad I did it and I would recommend it to all art fans"

"I was delighted with the itinerary - all the paintings and sites I had wanted to visit"

- ACE customers on the 2023 On the Trail of Caravaggio tour with Marie-Anne Mancio

One of the most compelling characters in Baroque art, Caravaggio revolutionised painting with his adherence to naturalism and controversial use of models from everyday life. From his meteoric rise to fame, through heated controversy and to his untimely death on the malarial Italian beaches in 1610, Caravaggio’s supporters and critics alike realised that here was an astounding and unprecedented artistic force to be reckoned with.


This tour will explore his trajectory, from his origins in Lombard naturalism through to the mature style of his Neapolitan works. On a journey in the artist’s footsteps, from Milan to Malta via Rome, Naples and Sicily, we will see some of Caravaggio’s greatest works – many of which are still in situ in the locations for which they were originally painted. 


We begin our tour in Milan, where Caravaggio was born, and where some of his works – including The Supper at Emmaus – are held today. In Rome, the young Michelangelo Merisi’s career flowered amid the Counter-Reformation search for new artistic styles worthy of representing the Church. Here, Caravaggio became embroiled in a new art scene, with all its experimentation and often violent rivalry, as artists struggled and competed to fashion a relevant contemporary art. 


We will explore paintings hanging in several of the city’s churches – from The Calling of St Matthew at San Luigi dei Francesi to The Madonna di Loreto at Sant’Agostino. Meanwhile, the Palazzo Barberini is home to several works by Caravaggio, including his depictions of St John the Baptist and Judith Beheading Holofernes, as well as a self-portrait by Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the most successful female artists of the Baroque age and the subject of a recent exhibition at the National Gallery in London. 


We will view further paintings by Caravaggio, as well as by other artists including Carracci and Artemisia’s father, Orazio Gentileschi, across Rome, with visits to sites including the Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Galleria Corsini and Galleria Borghese. Highlights at the latter include Caravaggio’s Boy with the Basket of Fruit, David and Goliath and Sick Bacchus.


Following in the footsteps of Caravaggio’s 1606 flight from Rome, we will head to Naples, in the artist’s day a major centre of Spanish power. A wealthy, culturally sophisticated society existed, notoriously, side by side with the harsh realities of desperate poverty and a shifting underclass, and Caravaggio’s powerful naturalism took the city’s public by storm. Artists clamoured to adopt his new and relevant approach, and our tour will also consider works by Caravaggio’s contemporaries.  


Whilst in Naples we will also consider the final years of Caravaggio’s life when he began his return to Rome in anticipation of a papal pardon. During this time he carried out a number of mature works epitomising his signature use of chiaroscuro, including the haunting Martyrdom of St Ursula, today housed in the Gallerie d’Italia. 


Our journey continues in Sicily, where the Museo Regionale di Messina is home to two important works – The Raising of Lazarus and The Adoration of the Shepherds – before we make our final stop in Malta, where Caravaggio was invited to work for the Knights of St John. These years led to him becoming a member of the Order and resulted in a series of important paintings, including the disturbing Beheading of St John the Baptist, his largest altarpiece, commissioned for St John’s Co-Cathedral. 


Throughout our journey we will stay in carefully selected city centre hotels ideally located for our visits in Milan, Rome, Naples, Catania and Valletta; please see the ‘Our Accommodation’ section below for further details. We will also enjoy business class train travel on our journeys from Milan to Rome and from Rome to Naples, to ensure a comfortable experience for participants.


This tour will be led by Marie-Anne Mancio, MPhil, DPhil, an art historian, writer, experienced tour leader and Arts Society accredited lecturer. Marie-Anne originally trained as an artist before gaining a DPhil at the University of Sussex in art and critical theory. She has written and presented courses for Tate and Dulwich Picture Gallery; writes reviews, catalogue essays and historical fiction; and is a frequent visitor to Italy. She is currently writing a book about Caravaggio, and looks forward to introducing another ACE group to his fascinating life and oeuvre in 2024.



Our Accommodation


Our tour begins at the four-star Hotel The Square Milano Duomo, a smart and sophisticated property set in the heart of Milan’s historical centre, with an excellent rooftop restaurant where we will enjoy our first group dinner. This will be followed by three nights in Rome at the classically decorated three-star Hotel della Torre Argentina, a comfortable and traditional hotel occupying an 18th century palazzo building ideally located in the centre of the city. 


In Naples we will stay at the elegant four-star Grand Hotel Oriente, described by The Telegraph as offering “tranquil interiors, welcoming staff and panoramic city views [creating] a haven from the busy streets outside”. The hotel is perfectly located for exploring the city on foot. 


Continuing to Catania, we will enjoy three nights at the refined four-star Palace Catania UNA Esperienze, a property blending Sicilian heritage and modern comfort in the heart of the city, and which enjoys breathtaking views of Mount Etna from its roof garden. We conclude with two nights in Malta at the five-star Grand Hotel Excelsior, a classic hotel overlooking Marsamxett Harbour.


Click the markers to see more details.

Tour Code

Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, eleven breakfasts, three lunches (one packed), six dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.

Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £995.

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