For those who take advantage of the summer holidays to visit the most beautiful Italian cities of art, there are numerous places and events with a high design rate to discover.
From maxi exhibitions to micro galleries independent, from biennials to experimental exhibitions, up to temporary pavilions in breathtaking seventeenth-century gardens, here are the addresses where to go (and to get lost in).
Procuratie Vecchie, Piazza San Marco, Venice
There is great news in Piazza San Marco in Venice. They are the Procuratie Vecchie, one of the symbolic buildings of the lagoon city, which opened their doors to the public for the first time since last April, five hundred years after their foundation, and after five years of restoration.
The complex, commissioned by the doge Andrea Gritti in the first half of the sixteenth century, was recovered by the architect David Chipperfield with his Milanese studio, becoming a work hub, a place open to citizens with an auditorium for events, a cafeteria with bookshop and co-working spaces.
The third floor houses the headquarters of The Human Safety Net, the foundation of Generali which aims to improve the living conditions of the weakest and most vulnerable, in a space of 3 thousand square meters set up by Migliore+Servetto, under the artistic direction of Davide Rampello, where you can visit the A world of potential exhibition by Orna Cohen.
The plus: half the ticket price can be allocated to support the activities of The Human Safety Net.
FontanaArte, the Glass Rooms, Venice
Until 31 July, the Glass Rooms of the Giorgio Foundation Cini (Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore) host FontanaArte.
Living in glass , the exhibition curated by Christian Larsen, which offers a retrospective critique of the glass furnishings of the legendary Milanese company, through a scan of the creative repertoire and production periods of the four great artistic directors: Gio Ponti, Pietro Chiesa, Max Ingrand and Gae Aulenti.
The installation, designed by Massimiliano Locatelli, includes 85 pieces of the most exemplary of FontanaArte's production, made of glass in sheets, an industrial material worked by many designers and artists who have collaborated with the brand over its 90-year history.
An interesting excursus not only on the company but, more generally, on the way of working glass over the decades, also told with the support of newsreels and films.
The Biennale Arte, Venice
Not a strictly design appointment, but a maxi event not to be missed if you are on tour in Venice: it is the 59th International Art Exhibition curated by Cecilia Alemani entitled The milk of dreams, until November 27 between the central Pavilion, the Giardini and the Arsenale.
An exhibition that brings together 213 artists from 58 nations, of which 26 are Italian, 1433 works on display, 180 debuts, 80 new productions and 81 pavilions.
Forms of drinking, InGalleria, Punta Conterie, Murano
Conceived as a total project, InGalleria of Punta Conterie in Murano is a fluid space in which design, glass art, visual arts and food and wine interpenetrate giving life to new visions cross-industry.
Among the current exhibitions, Forme del bere curated by Elisa Testori , until 31 December, an exhibition that focuses on < strong> glass as a design theme and everyday object. A review that, as the title suggests, traces the various forms of drinking from the twentieth century to the contemporary, staging small series , and outside series, by masters such as Achille Castiglioni, Vico Magistretti, Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass, Gio Ponti, Joe Colombo, Piero Fornasetti, just to name a few.
Alongside the historical pieces, there are also services, mugs, cups, whiskey glasses (and much more) created for the occasion by the nine designers, namely Lorenzo Damiani, Giulio Iacchetti, Astrid Luglio, Martinelli Venezia, mischer'traxler studio, Luca Nichetto, Philippe Nigro, Ionna Vautrin and Zaven.
The Uffizi in Florence
If you are visiting Florence, a must at the Uffizi, one of the most famous museums in the world for the extraordinary collections of ancient sculptures and paintings, absolute masterpieces of art of all time, such as the works of Giotto, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, just to name a few.
From an architectural point of view, the majestic Uffizi building is one of the most important Italian achievements of the sixteenth century, commissioned by the Duke of Florence Cosimo I de 'Medici and designed by Giorgio Vasari as the only seat of the magistrates of the city, that is the offices, the 'uffizi' for the Florentines of the time.
A modern and imposing construction, which replaces a piece of the old medieval city made up of towers and smaller houses, with a completely different, innovative, large and bright urban insertion, and still today incredibly current and suggestive.
Tobacco Factory, via delle Cascine, Florence
A place that is transformed and reborn: it is the Manifattura Tabacchi, a former Florentine cigar factory, which is undergoing an intense process of urban redevelopment, with the recovery of the original production site to create commercial spaces, hospitality areas, cultural and residential centers.
In particular, within two historic buildings covering 400 square meters, 45 high-design housing units designed by Patricia Urquiola and from the Florentine studio q-bic, with industrial-inspired lofts and spacious and bright apartments, which will be completed by December 2023.
The Manifattura's summer program is also rich, with free admission, animated by workshops, skate parks, street food, cinema en plein air , music, theater and exhibitions .
Among the current exhibitions, Squares. Phenomenologies of the unexpected, curated by Orizzontale, until 7 September in the Giardino della Ciminiera, a collection of today's squares, from the most classic ones to layouts experimental.
Grand Hotel Minerva, square of Santa Maria Novella, Florence
An author's stay: it is the Grand Hotel Minerva in Florence, one of the most historic hotels in the city, enlarged between the 1950s and 1960s by the Venetian master Carlo Scarpa and the Florentine Edoardo Detti.
The touch of the two architects is still present today, kept alive thanks to a careful work of conservative restoration commissioned by the hotel and signed by the architect Piera Tempesti Benelli, who has chosen to continue, in the missing parts, the Scarpa floor using the same marbles from the same quarry chosen by Scarpa and Detti in '58, and to recover the furnishings, such as the chairs, original by Scarpa, restored and lined with velvet Rubelli.
25Hours Hotel, piazza San Paolino, Florence
Another signature stay in Florence: the 25Hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino, the result of the architectural recovery of GLA , Genius Loci Architettura, in that which was once the Monte dei Pegni of the Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, with 66 rooms housed in the ancient monastery annexed to the church of San Paolino.
Above all, the interiors are surprising, imagined by the eclectic Paola Navone and inspired by the Divine Comedy, with numerous quotes from the Dante universe, such as the bedroom chandelier decorated with tags with the names of the sinners of Hell, or as the inscription Welcome to hell that stands ironically on the wall behind the bed.
Maxxi, via Guido Reni, Rome
In Rome the mecca for design and architecture enthusiasts is the Maxxi, the national museum of XXI arts designed by Zaha Hadid and inaugurated in 2010.
Among the events underway, until 11 September, Buone Nuove. Women in architecture , an exhibition curated by Pippo Ciorra, Elena Motisi and Elena Tinacci.
A journey through the female evolution of the architectural profession, which tells from the pioneers of the early twentieth century to the starchitect of today, from Signe Hornborg , the first woman in the world to graduate in architecture, to Helsinki in 1890, to Zaha Hadid, the first architect to receive the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2004, from Norma Merrick Sklarek, the first African American to have access to the profession in 1954, to icons of modernist design such as Charlotte Perriand and Eileen Gray.
National Roman Museum, Palazzo Altemps, via di Sant’Apollinare, Rome
Until 4 September, the National Roman Museum in the evocative setting of Palazzo Altemps hosts 10 Travels in Italian architecture, an exhibition curated by Matteo Balduzzi, Alessandra Cerroti and Luciano Antonino Scuderi, with the Museum of Contemporary Photography and Triennale Milano.
"The result of a happy and fruitful collaboration between different institutions, the exhibition, set up in the courtyard of Palazzo Altemps, establishes an unprecedented dialogue between contemporary architecture, illustrated by the images of young photographers, and the historic architecture of the Renaissance palace", he explains Stéphane Verger, director of the museum.
The exhibition brings together a selection of 108 images taken by photographers under 40 along ten itineraries that cross the peninsula and tell the variety of the Italian contemporary architectural heritage, documenting 250 architectures, from masterpieces recognized to the most surprising and lesser known buildings.
Festival des Cabanes, Villa Medici, Viale della Trinità dei Monti, Rome
Festival des Cabanes, in its first edition, invites the public this summer, and until October 2nd, to visit the pavilions built by architects, artists and students in the splendid gardens of Villa Medici, a 15th century building surrounded by a seven-hectare park on the Pincio hill, in the heart of Rome, seat of the French Academy.
The four pavilions are shaped like a 'hut', characterized by light prefabricated wooden structures, easy to dismantle and reuse, built in a few days mostly with reused wood; pavilions that, beyond the mere installation aspect, represent models to be inspired by for a new way of living and sustainable and modular living.
Swing unique, via della Penna, Rome
Among the new galleries to discover in Rome there is Swing unique, the Roman headquarters of Swing Design Gallery of Benevento founded by Angela da Silva in 2011.
An unprecedented space, because you do not enter inside, but the collections are displayed in the window facing the street, visible therefore both during the day and at night.
Until August 4th, the protagonists of the showcase are the Volcanos vases by the Franco-Russian designer and artist Alissa Volchkova, for the whole month of August there will be Lucia Massari with her Strata dishes, and in September it will be the turn of Sara Ricciardi.
"I want to tell and produce the research of emerging contemporary designers, many noticed in the most specialized schools in Europe", says founder Angela da Silva. "I have always been fascinated by the stories behind projects and objects, and above all by the infinite possibilities of materials. I have a background in contemporary art, hence my preference for projects where the conceptual and narrative aspect is predominant".
The gallery produces collectible design, one-offs, sometimes small numbered editions, "projects self-produced by the designers themselves, but often made in collaboration with craftsmen, such as the collection Softwood by Lucia Massari created with Upholstery Druette, or as the brass line Sabba by Sara Ricciardi, produced with Silver Tre Travignati".
Casa Balla, via Oslavia, Rome
After the great success with the public, the special opening of Casa Balla continues, the futurist residence where Giacomo Balla (1871-1958) lived and worked from 1929 until his death.
The amazing house can be visited until 31 December 2022, open from Thursday to Sunday, and access is allowed only with guided tours by pre-purchasing the ticket online, or at the ticket office of Maxxi in via Guido Reni.
A house understood and imagined as a great work of art, a kaleidoscopic laboratory of experimentation with painted walls, decorated furniture and utensils, paintings and sculptures, where Balla had even designed his clothes and those of his family to coordinate with everything.