The artists of the Art Gardens
Over the centuries, artists from all over the world have gravitated towards the Maremma. The region is and always has been an inspiration in itself, but what is always striking is just how varied the local art scene is. Contemporary artists, classic artists, super realists, modernists and truly inspirational sculptors from all over the globe call the Maremma home. You might travel to the Tuscan Maremma looking for gorgeous countrysides and beautiful medieval cities, but if you miss its artists, you’re missing out on a really beautiful aspect of this part of Tuscany!
Niki Saint Phalle
The queen of the Maremma’s art parks, Niki Saint Phalle was a French-American artist who decided to leave a very impressive legacy to the gorgeous seaside city of Capalbio. Over many years, Niki worked with fellow artist friends to represent the 22 tarot cards in gigantic handmade mosaic sculptures.
Visitors are invited to wander the park at their whim, admiring each sculpture randomly, almost as if it was drawn from the deck. The sculptures have a definite Gaudie feel about them and they’re loved by adults and kids alike, with the latter finding an infinite amount of fun in climbing all over the statues, especially the Castle, which is effectively, one big castle.
Swiss artist Daniel Spoerri built this incredible open-air gallery at the foot of Monte Amiata in Seggiano. The almost 100 strong collection isn’t just of his own creation though. Sculpture artists from all over the world have donated pieces to this amazing project.
Originally inspired by the artistry found in food, Spoerri became infatuated with bronze and many of his works in the garden are made from this and other industrial materials. They present such an incredible contrast to the organic environment around them that you can lose hours musing over the conundrums of naturalism and manmade art.
Montegiovi, Castel del Piano
Piero Bonacina came to Castel del Piano to be close to the Buddhist enclave, Merrigar. He opened this garden on the wave of popular demand so that everyone could admire his fantastical and whimsical sculptures.
Most of Piero’s work can be divided into two categories. There are his beautifully shaped wooden sculptures, which are so smooth and curved that you could be forgiven for thinking they were made of some easier to manipulate material like steel.
And then there are his more poignant pieces, which use discarded materials like old steel support frames, teapots and kitchen sinks to make veritable works of art. There’s even a sculpture completely covered in ivy and shaped to look like a man with his arms extended.
German artist Paul Fuchs wasn’t content making beautiful architectural sculptures. His pieces double as fantastic musical instruments. The more than 20 pieces in this garden have all been produced by Fuchs himself and scattered across a beautiful and open corner of Montieri.
The fantastic thing about this garden is that you’re not just admiring the art with your eyes, but also with your ears. The pieces move on their own and with some help from the wind generate sounds that are in perfect harmony with their environment.
Castiglione della Pescaia
Rodolfo is a bio-architect turned artist and his garden is Viaggo di Ritorno (A Return Journey). In short, Rodolfo takes what we consider to be rubbish and recycles it into beautiful pieces like “My Office” – a brightly coloured, semi-human sculpture, which he’s placed under a tree.
What’s interesting about Rodolfo is that he doesn’t buy his art materials, he finds them, so everything he produces and displays is intrinsically connected to the terrain where it is displayed. I guess you could say it’s the Maremma seen through the eyes of an artistically inclined recycler.