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Tuttomondo by Keith Haring (Pisa)
Photo ©Pom Angers

Contemporary art in Tuscany

Tuscany has a lot to offer as regards modern and contemporary art. Here's a quick guide!

Need to add a bit of contemporary art to your holidays? Visitors come to Tuscany from every corner of the world to see the amazing beauty of Art! Once you’re here, the amount of Renaissance and Medieval treasures will almost overwhelm you as well as the contemporary works spread around, in museums, in parks and even in the streets. Large-scale outdoor installations, sculpture parks, photography exhibitions and much more, all here in a quick guide with a few tips.

Museums
Galleria Continua in San Gimignano
Galleria Continua in San Gimignano - Credit: Claudia d'Aliasi - Visit Tuscany Social Media Team

Original and interesting contemporary art exhibitions are often organized by the Centre for Contemporary Culture Strozzina (Palazzo Strozzi, Florence) and the LU.C.C.A. – Lucca Center of Contemporary Art.

Tuscany is home to countless art galleries and mong the most important at an international level is the Galleria Continua, in San Gimignano.

The Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art of Prato reopened its doors to the public: 4000 m2 of exhibition spaces and a collection of over 1000 works among painting, sculpture, cinema and video, installations, works on paper, artist books and photographs.

Open Air

The sun is shining and you’re not too keen about spending a day at the museum. Don’t worry, you can enjoy the outdoor  contemporary art! Visit a sculpture park, take a picture in front of a large-scale installation or participate in a treasure hunt and try to spot some pieces of street art.

In summer, one of the most fascinating places that combine old and modern art (and spectacular views, too) is undoubtedly Forte Belvedere in Florence: the terraces of this beautiful Renaissance fortress, built in 1590-95 by Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici and designed by Bernardo Buontalenti, are the perfect location for large-scale sculpture exhibitions.

Take in the sights of the Tarot Gardenone of the most fascinating art parks in Tuscany and one of the most original and enjoyable attractions in the Maremma area. The creator is a world-renowned French artist, Catherine Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle (nicknamed “Niki”), who built this incredible two-hectare garden piece by piece, inspired by Gaudi’s Parc Guell in Barcellona. For more info, visit the website

Tarot Garden
Tarot Garden - Credit: AleBonvini

Chianti Sculpture Park is an incredible park with a permanent exhibition of sculptures and installations and it's a beautiful example of how art and nature can coexist and create something magic and unique. Contemporary artists from all over the world have come here with their different backgrounds to create site-specific sculptures, playing with colors, sounds and lights. Along the paths, every step is a discovery: glass trees, multicolored cows, a giant falling leaf and a rainbow placed among the bushes. Visit its website to read more about it.

Daniel Spoerri Sculpture Garden is a large and enchanting sculpture park created by Swiss artist Daniel Spoerri in Maremma, near the top of Monte Amiata.

Rose Garden is a quiet terraced garden, on a hillside overlooking Florence, just a few steps away from Piazzale Michelangelo. It is home to a vast assortment of roses and countless other types of plants, and is also known for the permanent exhibit of sculptures by the Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon.

detail of "L’envol" by Jean-Michel Folon
detail of "L’envol" by Jean-Michel Folon - Credit: Claudio Lucchese

Not far from Florence, the Villa Fattoria di Celle is a farm on a hill overlooking the area between Florence and Pistoia, some international artists were invited by Giuliano Gori and his family to create installations in the picturesque open space of about 45 acres and inside the historical buildings and various other rural structures. Today, Celle has about 70 installations.

Visit Selva di Sogno, a “Forest of Dream” in Chiusdino (Siena), in the woods that surround the Osho Miasto center. The sculptures made by Deva Manfredo, are miniature buildings that could belong to any ancient civilization and, at the same time, they are reminiscent of children’s games.

In Seano, near Carmignano (Prato), there’s a public garden, the Quinto Martini park museum. It features a large group of bronze artworks donated (and arranged) by the artist Quinto Martini.

Painters, sculptors, graphic artists and potters have made Cantagallo a curious gem of contemporary art thanks to the open air museum of Luicciana: installations take shape between houses and gardens, including wall paintings on the facades of the houses.

The Large-scale installations by Mario Staccioli can be found around the town of Volterra. Some of them literally frame the landscape! The streets of some Tuscan cities are increasingly starting to become a great place to spot some unusual, original and talented artists.

Making headlines all over the world is Clet (Abraham), a French artist who has been living in Italy for over 25 years. He’s the author of the artistic street signs that you can easily spot around Florence (as well as Livorno and other places). His guerrilla art has also produced some incredible, and much discussed, works during the last years.

Clet
Clet - Credit: luastorta

Not everyone knows that in Pisa there’s a spectacular mural by Keith Haring, the famous American graffiti artist: Tuttomondo, 30 figures, painted like a puzzle, covering 180 square meters of wall of the convent of St. Anthony.

In Pontedera, there is the wall of Enrico Baj: 100 meters long and three meters high, it is probably the largest mosaic in Italy.

Keith Haring in Pisa
Keith Haring in Pisa - Credit: Pom Angers
Events

Festival, shows, exhibitions… countless events regarding contemporary art are organized all year round in Tuscany! Just to mention a few: lo Schermo dell’Arte explores, analyzes and promotes relations between contemporary art and cinema. It is a unique project in Italy, which came to light in Florence in 2008 and is now part of the "50 Days of International Film Festival".

The New Florence Biennale is an international multidisciplinary event established in 1997, held every two years within the exhibition spaces of the Fortezza da Basso in Florence.  

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Art and Culture