In a country rich in architectural treasures and naturalistic places what happens when art, and in particular contemporary art, meets in the garden? This guide in 8 places is not intended to be exhaustive but an invitation to travel with an eye always open to wonder.
In Trentino, a project that, for over 30 years, has been gathering artists from all over the world, inviting them to interpret, not only the spirit of the Val di Sella, but a symbiosis between human and non-human species and the plant world.
Not even the Storm Vaia, which profoundly marked the area in 2018, did not hold back the energy of this creative laboratory where art and nature grow inextricably. An experience to go alone or in company, immersed in sounds and smells of the forest and in dialogue with a time calculated in eras that teaches us to abandon our human-centrism.
Among the most monumental works known to the general public: the Vegetal Cathedral by Giuliano Mauri, The Trench of Peace by Michelangelo Pistoletto, Symbiosis by Edoardo Tresoldi and Liquid Landscape by Daan Roosegaarde.
Castle of Ama
In the heart of the hills Siena, a place that combines the passion for wine, respectful cultivation of the land and contemporary art. Castello di Ama is a project curated by Galleria Continue, to live in the small medieval village of Ama and the cellar neighboring winery with installations that, year after year, interpret the genius loci, reflecting emotions and sensations of the territory and of the contemporary world.
From Louise Bourgeois to Anish Kapoor and Daniel Buren, from Hiroshi Sugimoto to < strong> Pascale Martine Tayou.
Despite being a well-known destination, no crowding can spoil the emotion of being in front of the female figures and esoteric iconographies created by the artist Niki de Saint Phalle, with interventions by Jean Tinguely.
Populated by scenes and figures inspired by the symbologies of the Tarot, this garden is a dream forged for 20 years. Ceramics, mirrors, round shapes, water features and bodies that become houses will be the background to open your imagination.
Also in the Tuscan hills an equally impressive artist's garden. Here it is Daniel Spoerri who chooses this heavenly place to create his works and calls together artists and artists with whom to build a path of over 113 installations: some hidden among dense woods , others overlook panoramic views.
A place of contemplation, a place to open your head to new suggestions, a place where art welcomes you, entertains you, peacefully, upsets you and throws a few punches. A powerful place, where you can't just be a spectator.
Among the dirt roads of the hills Umbrian, not far from the Monster Park of Bomarzo, rises an ideal city designed by the designer and architect Tomaso Buzzi.
Begun with the restoration of a Franciscan convent, the Scarzuola encompasses all of Buzzi's eclecticism, surrealism and humanistic studies. If the labyrinthine vision does not prevail, references mannerist, connections with the work Hypnerotomachia Poliphili by Francesco Colonna and with the theatrical machines of the great court shows.
To guide you on this journey between the dreamlike and the alchemical, Marco Solari nephew of Buzzi and keeper and continuator of this great work.
One of the access routes to the Aspromonte National Park, the Musaba museum park is built around a medieval monastic complex. It was in 1969 that Nik Spatari and Hiske Maas began what they already envision as a global project that mixes artistic production with botany, human history with environmental and scientific knowledge.
Since then, and thanks to the constant care in cultivating beauty and research, Musaba has become the Mediterranean garden crossed by multidisciplinary and monumental installations and interventions that can be admired today.
Between Palermo and Messina, a path that winds through the works of great masters and masters of contemporary art. Curated by the collector Antonio Presti, this open-air museum winds inland and along the bed of an ancient river, to surprise you with monumental works and more hidden places.
To admire each side of the project, we recommend a stay in one of the 20 rooms of the Art Hotel Atelier sul Mare where you sleep in rooms created by artists: you could find yourself in a boat at sunset, in a tale of Vincenzo Consolo, among the puppets of Mimmo Cuticchio or in the oriental atmosphere of a hammam.
Staying in Sicily, you cannot miss a visit to the botanical park Radicepura. In years in which climate change pushes us to find urgent resources against the desertification of the land, Radicepura is a Mediterranean oasis of immense wisdom and wonder.
With its 15 gardens , 4 installations and the artistic works of Emilio Isgrò, Alfio Bonanno, Baronetto and Adrian Paci - whose work will be inaugurated in October - Radicepura celebrates the garden not only in its aesthetic form but as a place to cultivate beauty and respect for the earth.
An exaltation of nature that finds momentum in the Radicepura Garden Festival, a biennial event curated by the landscape gardener Antonio Perazzi and dedicated to garden design and landscape architecture of the Mediterranean, which involves great protagonists of landscape, art and architecture together with young designers who compete in the Call for Ideas (currently open for the next edition).
Bonus track: getting lost in irregular art
If you are not looking for selfies with particular backgrounds but you are passionate about stories, the irregular sense of following a passion or an obsession, there is one last suggestion to add to the list. For years, the anthropologist Gabriele Mina has been tracing the places of outsider art in Italy: places created by ordinary people, places of accumulation, of visions, of patience. Works that take up a lifetime and take the indefinable forms of a tower of Babel.
Get lost among 'Builders of Babel' - book published by Eleutera but also web archive constantly updated - you can find a stone cathedral, a city of stone faces, houses whose walls are painted biographies, or houses that rise through ferrous mechanics driven by the desire to 'see the sea'.