POSSAGNO – Antonio Canova Gypsotheca


What to see in Possagno, a small guide in order to not miss any places of interest/attraction

Possagno is a small town just 5 km from the Hotel San Giacomo wine hotel and activity & wellness centre.

Birthplace of Antonio Canova, considered the greatest exponent of Neoclassical sculpture and the last of the great Italian sculptors, Possagno stands in a scenic location at the foot of Monte Grappa.

The Temple of Canova, an imposing white neoclassical building that dominates the landscape, was designed by Canova himself, based on the Pantheon in Rome, and now houses his remains.

However, a visit to Possagno should begin at its true centre, the Canova complex, consisting of the 19th-century Gypsotheca, where Canova’s brother, Giovanni Battista Sartori, decided to transfer all the plaster models kept in Antonio’s Roman studio after his death, and the house where the artist was born, where his paintings, engravings, drawings and tools are now preserved.

Inside the house, the room where Canova was born should not be missed. There you can see the famous painting by Thomas Lawrence and the splendid study of painting in the luminous “Torretta”.

A grenade burst through the roof of the Gypsotheca in 1917, during World War I. Many statues were severely damaged and a long, careful restoration ensued, which led to its reopening in 1948. Here you can also see the work of the great Venetian architect, Carlo Scarpa, who was in charge of the extension of the Gypsotheca in 1957.

The foundation that manages the area is very active and organises exhibitions and experiences for children, such as treasure hunts, as well as for adults. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, for those who purchase entrance tickets to the museum, Fondazione Canova offers guided tours of the Canova collections at 10:30 and 11:30 am, and at 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 pm, for only 4 euros per person in addition to the price of the entrance ticket.

Night visits ‘by the light of Psyche’s lamp’

The Canova Foundation organises an atmospheric historical re-enactment, a nocturnal visit to the Gypsotheca in which you can see the large collection of works and sculptures illuminated solely by lanterns, followed by a visit to the genius of Possagno’s birthplace to discover his pictorial masterpieces. A dinner is also served in order to taste the typical produce of the land of Canova.

It is an evening that will take you back in time, to relive the atmosphere familiar to Canova in his Roman studio at the end of the 18th century, when, after a hard day’s work, the tireless artist would shape models and polish marble by the light of torches and lanterns. An enchanting silence would reign in his studio at night, with the artists and collectors all gone, and the great Neoclassical artist working intensely among absolute masterpieces.

The evening programme usually includes:

– Dinner in the museum’s rustic annex with typical dishes and produce of the land of Canova
– Guided tour of Canova’s birthplace
– Lantern show in the Gypsotheca

Exclusive evenings in the museum
Special exclusive evening visits can be requested for groups of at least 20 people. Requests must be submitted at least 20 days before the proposed date, to eventi@museocanova.it.

For more information, visit the website: www.museocanova.it