Fattoria delle Celle is home to a leading environmental art collection, which Giuliano Gori and his family began back in the early Eighties. The estate is perched on the top of a hill that dominates the plain between Florence and Pistoia. International artists were invited to create installations in evocative outdoor spaces divided between the romantic parkland and the adjacent olive grove covering approximately 45 hectares inside the historic buildings and in various other rural buildings.
Today, at Le Celle, there are about 70 installations. But what’s more important is that the initiative has led to a large creative lab, which tirelessly continues to produce and experiment with new languages expressed in an array of contemporary artistic disciplines.
In Seano di Carmignano, near Prato, head for the outdoor Parco Museo Quinto Martini which is free to visit. The park was established in 1988 around a large number of artworks made between 1931 and 1988, donated by artist Quinto Martini to Seano. It is a public garden that the artist has set up according to the installation of his sculptures.
The subjects have been taken from the daily rural world, which allows the structures to be part of the naturalness of the surrounding space: there’s a girl chasing after a goose, an innkeeper sat down waiting for a customer, a woman who peeks out at the street from her door.
On the way to Pievasciata (Siena), you come across the Chianti Sculpture Park. Open from April to September, from 10am to sunset; from October to March by appointment only. Closed Monday. Entrance fee. The installations in the park, which opened in 2003, are arranged along a circular path through a oak wood.
At the start of the path, on one side, you find the owner’s art gallery/house; on the other, the entrance to the park, where even the ticket office is a work of art: ‘House in the Wood’ by Japanese Kei Nakamura, the beginning and end of the loop.
In Chiusdino (Siena), in the wood surrounding Centro Osho Misto, there’s the evocative Dream Wood: towers, temples, squares of irregular dry stones. The architecture/sculptures of Deva Manfredo are miniature structures that could belong to any century and which, at the same time, are reminiscent of children’s games.
One of the loveliest art parks in Tuscany is the Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden. The garden is situated in the wonderful Tuscan hills, at Garavicchio near Capalbio. In 1979, work began on the Tarot Garden. The brainchild was a French sculpture artist of worldwide renown: Niki de Saint Phalle. She was inspired after seeing Parc Guell by Gaudi’ in Barcelona.
The Open-Air Park of Luicciana, in the hamlet of Cantagallo, a village that lives and breathes art with the installations that take shape among the gardens and houses, including the mural paintings on the facades of the village houses.
Since 2006 Enrico Baj’s wall has stood in Pontedera, 100 metres long and three metres high: it is probably the biggest mosaic in Italy.
Not everyone knows that you can find a piece of wall art by Keith Haring in Pisa, the famous American street artist. The idea of creating some wall art in Pisa came about by coincidence following a meeting on the street in New York between Haring and a young student frm Pisa. The theme of “TUTTOMONDO” is world peace and harmony.
Mauro Staccioli donated some of his most beautiful installations to Volterra in an itinerary to explore the local area. At Castello di Ama, near Gaiole in Chianti, thanks to Lorenzo Fiaschi and Galleria Continua di San Gimignano and owners Marco Pallanti and Lorenza Sebasti, check out a collection of site-specific artworks by internationally renowned artists.
Giardino di Daniel Spoerri in Seggiano (Grosseto). In the early Nineties, Swiss artist Daniel Spoerri began to set up a sculpture park in southern Tuscany, approximately 80km south of Siena. In 1997, "Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri" opened to the public: it can be visited from Easter to October. At present, there are 87 works by 42 artists, covering an area of approximately 16 hectares. In 1997, "Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri" was recognised and officially opened as a foundation by the Italian Ministry of Culture. Its name "Il Giardino" is also a place name.
On old maps it’s called "Il Paradiso". So, it makes sense to talk about it as a "garden of paradise". This is the greenest part of southern Tuscany, near Siena, with its solitary cypress trees on the hills. The slopes of Monte Amiata, the highest mountain in Tuscany, are covered with dense woodland. Local restaurants serve up mushrooms and chestnuts. Here, Tuscany is different to the one we see on calendars and postcards. Snow falls in the winter and you can actually ski on Monte Amiata. In the summer, the area is like a furnace.
Piazza dei Guidi in Vinci pays tribute to Mimmo Paladino and Leonardo the genius. In collaboration with architect Nicola Fiorillo, the artist has set up the square with a geometric grid, offering decompositions and recompositions of layers in slabs, on which he engraves, using glass or silver, motifs that prompt his famous and iconic universe.