The Sculpture Park in Chianti is often overlooked by tourists, but it’s a stunning contemporary outdoor exhibition. A visit here makes a wonderful day trip from Florence – you’ll get to spend lots of time outside in the park and surrounding oak wood, enjoying both the beautiful scenery and the artworks. |
While it’s perhaps one of the most off the beaten track things to do in Chianti, it is certainly worth a visit.
A local couple, Piero and Rosalba Giadrossi, founded the park out of a passion for art and sculpture. It opened in 2004 with pieces specially designed for the site – providing a fresh take on a centuries-old Italian tradition of creating outdoor sculptures with their exhibition location in mind.
Artists from all over the world were involved in the project, and you certainly get a sense of this wide scope when you look around. The sculptures range in size, style, and materials. More traditional artists used granite and marble, while on the modern end of the spectrum, you have neon lights, soundscapes and geometric masterpieces.
What brings these contrasting outdoor exhibits together is their integration with nature. As you explore, you’ll notice a real harmony between the man-made and the organic. Each artist personally visited the park and oak wood before setting to work.
Here are just some of the highlights you’ll see:
Labyrinth – One of the stand out pieces is a green, octagonal maze. Big enough to explore and run around in, you’ll have lots of fun with this one.
Energy – At first sight, you will probably mistake this sculpture for an 8m cypress tree. Made with over 800 glass sheets, it weighs in at 16 tonnes!
Unfinished Building – A marble and iron construction which arches over the path, forming a frame for another sculpture.
Faith and Illusion – A hopeless wire woman stands between two wire tower blocks, reflecting on societal progress - or lack thereof. It’s a very thoughtful piece by an Indonesian artist.
Leapfrog – Happy children made of black granite leapfrog along the grass. The kids will definitely want to copy them!
Rainbow Crash – This is a towering coloured glass rainbow, which features neon lights along the floor.
A day trip to the park is an especially great thing to do in Chianti if you’re travelling with young children. The sculpture trail through the woods is about a kilometre in length, and the path you follow is easy to use even with a stroller.
Kids will also love being able to get up close and interact with the art pieces, posing for photos or just touching the different materials. There are a couple of picnic areas too, so be sure to bring along some snacks and enjoy lunch together in this idyllic setting.
In July and August, sunset concerts are often held in the park’s amphitheatre. Sculptures of famous historical figures are dotted among the seating to spectate the show. You’ll be able to spot the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Federico Fellini and Alfred Hitchcock.
The programme is always vibrant and varied, so you’re sure to find an open-air show that the whole family will enjoy. Just another reason why visiting the Sculpture Park should be high up on your list of things to do in Chianti.
When planning your visit, booking a day trip with a local tour operator is highly recommended. Having a local guide accompany you brings the place alive and makes the experience even more memorable.
Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable tours and excursions around Italy including the best things to do in Chianti. Whether you want to ride a Vintage Vespa, try the famous Chianti wine or get cooking with fresh local ingredients, Mauro's company promises excitement, adventure and above all, fun. If you're keen to experience the magic of Italy with the help of some passionate and knowledgeable tour guides, look no further than WalkAbout Florence for your next getaway.
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