An itinerary that winds through Volterra, San Gimignano, Poggibonsi, Monteriggioni and Colle di Val d’Elsa in search of contemporary site-specific works, those that are specifically designed to sit between medieval towers and cemturies-old city walls, and give them new life.
This route is the result of collaborative events and projects between local and international artists supported by associations and administrations that have discovered the ideal location for reinterpreting classical Tuscany in the villages of Valdelsa and Valdicecina.
Even before arriving in the historic center of Volterra, the works of Mauro Staccioli frame the hills on the horizon with their red metallic circles. These are some of the 10 works by the artist scattered in different places in the town, interacting with the landscape and architecture.
The former mental hospital of Volterra is another favorite place for contemporary art, having hosted performances by Marina Abramovic and where the graffiti of Oreste Fernando Nannetti, artist and patient, was discovered.
Hidden in narrow alleys, poised on historic towers and in the midst of innocuous gardens of San Gimignano, you can find works by internationally renowned contemporary artists such as Kiki Smith, Anish Kapoor, Eliseo Mattiacci and Giulio Paolini. The works were created for the Arte all'arte project: Art Architecture between 1995 and 2001.
In San Gimignano, there are also several interesting contemporary art galleries, such as the Galleria Continua and the Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Raffaele de Grada.
Anthony Gormley created cast-iron statues from moulds of Poggibonsesi citizens that have their found their place in various areas of the city: from the medieval fortress to the train station. The work by Mimmo Paladino lies at the bottom of the beautiful medieval fountains featuring sculptures of crocodiles and sleeping men. Nari Ward built an alabaster caravan located near the waste-to-energy plant.
In addition, Poggibonsi annually invites street artists to give life to different areas, as part of the Wall d’Elsa project.
Street art is also the subject of a unique itinerary in Monteriggioni also, as well as in the surrounding hamlets, with works by artists such as Clet Abraham, Colette Baraldi, BLUB, Benedetto Cristofani, Pierluigi Pagni and Jacopo Pischedda. One such example is the Castellina Scalo station: 4 walls in which a constellation of falling people symbolize a train journey as a moment of passage and an opportunity for profound change.
The central square of Colle di Val d’Elsa, designed by the Parisian architect Jean Nouvel, immediately reveals the contemporary attractions of this town.
Kiki Smith designed Color Still for the bridge of San Francesco: three statues of girls accompanied by a sky of crystal lamps, made by local craftspeople. Today, the three works are exhibited in Colle Val d'Elsa (in the Elevator Tunnel), in Poggibonsi (in the Medici Fortress) and in San Gimignano (in the Rocca di Montestaffoli).
Info: Valdelsa Valdicecina