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Friday, January 25, 2013

Expect the Unexpected - Contemporary Art in Umbria

skyline of Brufa, frazione of Torgiano, Perugi...
skyline of Brufa, frazione of Torgiano, Perugia, Umbria, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By []Giovanni Balboni

The mystically beautiful region of Umbria sits in the shadow of its more famous neighbour, Tuscany. The area around your villa in Umbria is known as Italy's 'green heart', and this hilly region is bordered to the west by Tuscany, the Marche to the east, and Lazio to the south. Its locality is unique as the only region in Italy that is landlocked, and does not share a border with another country.

Italy is so fascinating and delightful that it can be difficult to choose a place to base yourself when on holiday. Umbria, due to its centrality, is a wise decision. Nearby, or in, Spello, Bevagna, Montefalco, Spoleto, Todi or the capital Perugia, are further great choices and will mean you are only a day trip from the entire country.

The awe-inspiring medieval character of the environment around your villa in Umbria will have you musing upon the mysticism and mysteries of the Dark Ages. So it is somewhat incongruous that the region is also a hub abuzz with modern contemporary art. There are exciting cutting edge galleries in the area that are not to be missed; they certainly go against the notion that the region is stodgy or appreciated more for its reserved and conservative nature.

The Landscape Art of Torgiano

Much of the exciting art is unexpectedly found in the most unusual places. One surprising collection is the Scultori a Brufa, which began in 1987 when the little hamlet of Brufa, in the Toriano region, began an annual installation of contemporary outdoor sculpture in its town centre and outlying hills. Travelling through the vineyard covered hills, suddenly, in the middle of a pasture one is shocked to see a monumental stone and steel sculpture, and then just down the road the bizarre sight of a towering stainless steel tree juxtaposed against the lilting, pastoral backdrop. The medieval village is littered with the most exciting stone, steel and timber sculptures; a veritable hide and seek of contemporary craftsmanship is offered with surprising works to be found.

Delightfully surprising, in such economically fraught times, is the against-all-odds launch an exciting new contemporary art museum in the region.

The CIAC Museum Via del Campanile

From your villa in Umbria, great art is just a stroll away in Foligno. The CIAC Museum Via del Campanile 13 opened in 2010 and is a housed in what was previously the deteriorated Church Annunziata, initially designed around 1765. It has rebirthed as an unrecognisable modern monolith, a very funky, hard edge art space. The austere, windowless building appears impenetrable, however, once inside, the space is light, minimalist and airy, with skylights illuminating the well-presented installations, paintings, modern media works and sculptures.

Palazzo Collicola Arti Visive-Museo Carandente

Palazzo Collicola Arti Visive-Museo Carandente is at palazzo Collicola, piazza Collicola 1. The exhibitions here are never static and flow over four floors. There is an impressive display of the works of American sculptor, Alexander Calder, author of 'Teodelapio in Piazza della Stazione'. The famed Spoleto artist, Leoncillo Leonardi is also on display here.

Drawing enthusiasts will appreciate the sketches of the 1962 'Sculptures in the City' exhibition with works from the elite draftsmen Smith, Caro, Consagra, Moore, Tomato, Franchina and Glue. There is also an impressive exhibit of contemporary furniture and pieces from a kaleidoscope of media, from many European modern art galleries and private collections. And, if you can bear to spare a few hours away from your glorious villa in Umbria you can explore the more than 30 000 volumes in the library of contemporary art texts.

You can certainly expect the unexpected from the art world in the hills of this wonderful Italian region.

Giovanni Balboni works for To Tuscany, who specialise in finding the perfect []villa in Umbria, Tuscany and Puglia. To Tuscany is proud of their villas and their reputation. All our properties are personally selected and visited by our representatives to ensure we offer only the best in the regions.

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