Here in Chianti, we and many of our neighbours plant vines whose grapes yield the famous Chianti wines. But one of our neighbours plants… art! The Chianti Sculpture Park, just a few kilometers away from Dievole, opened in 2004 and consists of a one-kilometer long path in the woods upon which you discover 27 installations by international contemporary artists.
Piero Giadrossi and his wife Rosalba have been living in the area for over 30 years, with an art gallery first in Siena, then here in the countryside, near the borgo of Pievasciata. It was Piero’s dream to create an art park on the wooded property next to their home-gallery.
Piero invites artists who are often famous in their home countries but relatively unknown outside to visit the property and choose the perfect spot for their site-specific art. The artists bring their own style and cultural background to their works, but are also inspired by the space itself.
For example, perhaps the most discreet and well-integrated work in the park is by Australian Anita Glesta, whose Dialogue consists of two simple platforms lining the ravine, on which visitors are encouraged to lie down and observe the sky and the movement of the trees – to stop and listen to our dialogue with nature. Local artist Roberto Cipollone’s sculpture called Chianti also works with the woods, responding to shifts in the wind to generate sound.
Falling Leaf, by the Egyptian artist Yasmina Heidar, is an interesting contrast: materially heavy, the green glass “leaf” is visually light and responds to the oak leaves in the surrounding woods.
On the other hand, you get the sense that Indonesian artist Dolorosa Sinaga has brought a lot of her despair and concerns with her when she made Faith and Illusion, a sad female character enclosed by tall skyscrapers, represented abstractly in metal rods. Similarly, Zavier Barrera Fontenla’s Por la libertad de Prensa (for the libery of the press) makes a political statement that is relatively independent of the space itself, although it is purposefully juxtaposed against a barbed wire fence.
Some of the works suggest space for viewers to sit, so that view is directed to be in line with that of the artist. In particular there is the ampitheatre, in Carrara marble, with cutout metal figures representing some famous permanent spectators: Alfred Hitchcock, Federico Fellini, Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. In the summer months, there are classical and jazz concerts held here each Tuesday night at 7pm.
La Fornace art gallery, also on the property, has some beautiful smaller sculptural works available for sale. The gift shop also carries some interesting books and some original small sculptural jewelry and home décor items.
If you’re exploring the back roads near the park, keep an eye out for some playful installations at key crossroads! In collaboration with local businesses and associations, the park’s owners have helped place contemporary sculpture through the area, making Pievasciata into a “contemporary art town”.
The park is open daily from 10am to sundown, though if visiting in the winter months, reservation is recommended at +39 0577 357151. For information, see www.chiantisculpturepark.it.