Basel, the capital of art and architecture

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Basel is a gem with a multitude of museums and contemporary architecture, with masterpieces by 12 different Pritzker Prize winners.

The artistic spirit of Basel is embodied in a story from around fifty years ago: two paintings by Picasso, The Two Brothers and Sitting Harlequin, on loan to the Kunstmuseum Basel, were about to be sold abroad by their owner and art collector Rudolf Staehlin due to his family's financial difficulties. Disgruntled by this decision, young activists and art lovers in Basel managed to convince the citizens to spend more than six million francs on the purchase of the two works of art. Picasso himself was so impressed by this declaration of love that he donated three more paintings and a drawing to the city.

It is therefore no coincidence that Basel is today the European city with the highest density of top-class museums: there are more than 40 of them in an area of 37 square kilometres. Among the museum institutions are the Beyeler Foundation, the Jean Tinguely Museum, the Schaulager, the Antikenmuseum, the Historical Museum and the aforementioned Kunstmuseum, one of the world's oldest art collections open to the public. On the second floor of the main building of the Kunstmuseum we can still find the works of Picasso, exhibited together with other great modern classics, from Henri Matisse to Joan Miró via Paul Klee.

Every year since 1970, the Art Basel fair has been showcasing the art of the 20th and 21st centuries, with more than 250 of the world's most renowned galleries temporarily transforming the Basel fair into a major museum. Art Basel is an essential meeting place for artists, collectors and many important personalities of the art scene.

The love of contemporary culture and the constant search for beauty is also manifested in the special relationship that Basel has with contemporary architecture: stately homes in the classical style and medieval churches in the old town coexist with buildings designed by the archistars Richard Meier, Mario Botta, Renzo Piano or Herzog & de Meuron, creating a unique dialogue between tradition and innovation. A total of 12 Pritzker Prize winners have worked in Basel.

If we talk about archistars, in Basel we cannot fail to mention the Novartis Campus, a collection of architectural gems designed by the world's best architects: Diener & Diener were the first in 2005, followed by SANAA and Peter Märkli (both in 2006), Marco Serra (2007), Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani and Adolf Krischanitz (both in 2008), Frank O. Gehry, José Rafael Moneo Vallès and Fumihiko Maki (all in 2009), Tadao Ando, David Chipperfield and Yoshio Taniguchi (all in 2010), Eduardo Souto de Moura and Álvaro Siza (both in 2011), Rahul Mehrotra (2013), Juan Navarro Baldeweg (2014) and Herzog & de Meuron (2015). The Novartis Pavilion, designed by Michele De Lucchi, is for the time being the last piece of Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani's far-reaching project that will last until 2030. The architectural park is open to the public on weekdays.

Basel, by train

Basel is therefore a must-visit city for lovers of art and innovative architecture. The city is easily accessible from Italy by train, thanks to a joint promotion by Trenitalia and the Swiss Federal Railways, whereby if you travel as a couple you only pay for one of the two 1st or 2nd class tickets. The offer, valid from 9 March to 16 April, connects the main cities of Northern Italy, (Milan, Genoa, Bologna and Venice), with several Swiss centres: Basel, Bern, Lausanne, Lugano, Zurich, Geneva.

More information on the Trenitalia and Swiss Federal Railways 2-for-1 Promo:
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