Padova’s Scrovegni Chapel, with its precious 14th-century Giotto frescoes, is one of Italy’s most beloved art treasures. Wallpapered with Giotto’s beautifully preserved cycle of frescoes, the glorious chapel — painted in about the year 1300 — depicts the lives of Jesus and Mary. Giotto, considered the first modern painter, painted scenes that were more realistic and human than anything that had been done for a thousand years. Moving beyond medieval 2-D and gold leaf backgrounds, with these realistic ground-breaking frescoes, Giotto introduces nature — rocks, trees, animals — as a backdrop for religious scenes. These frescoes are considered by many to be a precursor of the Renaissance to come.