The building was originally linked to the Scrovegni family palazzo, built in 1300 on the part of the elliptical foundations of the Roman amphitheatre.
Tradition has it that Enrico Scrovegni commissioned the chapel as an intercessory offering on behalf of the soul of his father, Reginaldo, a noted usurer who figures in Canto XVII of Dante’s Inferno.
Giotto’s cycle of frescoes was painted in the years 1303-1305 and covers the entire surface of the interior. The walls are decorated with scenes from the lives of Joachim and Anna and of Mary and Jesus; they begin with Joachim being driven out of the Temple and end with the scene of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles as tongues of flame.
The magnificent Last Judgement occupies the entire inside wall of the facade and shows Christ receiving the Blessed on his right and condemning the Wicked to his left. The dado is decorated with monochrome allegories of the Vices and Virtues which result in man’s ultimate reception into heaven or consignment to Hell; and the vaulted ceiling is painted as a blue star-strewn sky. The Crucifix which once completed the entire cycle of frescoes is now in the City Museum picture gallery.
Since 1880, when the Chapel was bought by the City Council, the frescoes have been constantly monitored, and in more recent years detailed studies have been carried out to determine the state of the building and frescoes, and the quality of the circumambient air and other possible sources of pollution. The addition of the new access structure and the installation of equipment to guarantee air quality has made it possible to allow a steady flow of visitors without putting the conservation of the frescoes themselves at risk.
Information about guided tour here.