Hidden treasures

Villa di Celle in Pistoia: a fascinating open-air museum

Unknown places & works

Villa di Celle in Pistoia: a fascinating open-air museum

Pistoia is a city full of surprises. Villa di Celle in Santomato, towards Montale, is one of them. The old villa is home to the 'Gori Collection', a large collection of outdoor installations scattered in an English garden and of contemporary works of art visible in the exhibition spaces of the villa complex. It is a unique experience that will thrill lovers of art, but that is sure to capture, in a magical swirl of awe and wonder, any visitor.

The idea of the selection of 'land art' is owed to Giuliano Gori, a collector who sensed that this trend was becoming popular again. It develops around the idea that the artist must directly interact with nature, not only using it as a simple exhibition space, but also as an integral part of the work itself. With this in mind Giuliano Gori inaugurated the first 15 installations in 1982, nine of which are outdoors.

Now the collection includes as many as 80, which is why a complete visit, that must be booked via telephone beforehand, takes about four hours. As soon as you arrive you will immediately notice that this is not a place like others: at the entrance stands the first of the installations, the 'Grande Ferro' by Alberto Burri. This is an iron structure more than five metres high painted in red, which vaguely resembles the shape of an onion.

A few examples of the works exhibited in the park should be enough to arouse your curiosity: 'La cabane éclatée aux 4 salles' ('the exploded hut with 4 rooms') by Daniel Burren is a game of mirrors and doors you can interact with by going in and out; 'Labyrinth' by Robert Morris, where the two-tone marble stripes, typical in Tuscan churches, heightens the sense of discomfort conveyed by the narrow path; 'Katarsis' by Magdalena Abakanowicz consists of 33 stylized bronze figures with no arms or legs, arranged on a lawn. Finally, the ethereal 'floating Sculpture' by Marta Pan: two elements of the same shape and colour but of different sizes, resembling the mother-child relationship, float freely in the park's pond.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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