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But inside are some of the most famous and important paintings in Europe, Giotto's frescoes of the stories of Mary and Jesus.

When Enrico Scrovegni commissioned the building of a private chapel at the beginning of the fourteenth century, he spared no expense.

You don't have long to look at the frescoes, and this will give you an introduction to the stories depicted and some context for appreciation.

Don't forget to look at the statues on the altar by Giovanni Pisano - compare the flowing robes of his Madonna to Giotto's painting of Mary on her wedding day.

The original Chiesa degli Eremitani was nearly destroyed in Second World War bombing, but some of its fine frescoes by Mantegna have been painstakingly restored and can be seen in the reconstructed church.

Sitting between the marketplaces of Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta is the large medieval hall of the Palazzo della Ragione.

), you should consider booking ahead for the Scrovegni Chapel.

The Pinacoteca (art gallery) upstairs is vast, mostly deriving from a bequest with the condition that all the paintings should be on display together.Then you should arrive a few minutes early at the chapel, having left your bag in the free cloakroom in the main museum building.For 15 minutes you sit through an audiovisual presentation - this is also an acclimatisation zone to protect the frescoes.The Civic Museums () are part of the same complex as the Scrovegni Chapel.To visit the museums, you'll have to bypass the officious staff who insist on checking your chapel booking time whenever you're within twenty feet of their buildings.