Are you into contemporary art?
With Italy being home to some of the world’s most treasured masterpieces, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it also has some great places to check out intriguing and unique contemporary art.
And although Calabria might not come to mind when thinking about this style of art, it has some great places worth checking out, especially if you are an avid art lover.
MUSABA – Parco Museo Laboratorio Santa Barbara (Mammola, RC)
Located near the tip of the boot in the province of Reggio Calabria, this seemingly peculiar museum is situated within the remains of an ancient monastic complex known as Santa Barbara, which dates back to the 4th century. In the late 60s, two artists, Calabria-born Nik Spatari and his wife, Hiske Maas, settled there and brought new life and an explosion of color to this abandoned site.
Nik Spatari was born in Mammola in the province of Reggio Calabria. At 9, he won his first international prize in a drawing competition. As he grew up, he studied in Europe and America collaborating with many impressive artists like Andy Warhol and Picasso. Nik passed away in 2020, but he leaves a legacy of his unique talent with the stunning murals, mosaics, and sculptures greeting you at every turn.
A visit to MUSABA is magical, incorporating art with architecture and culture. As you make your way around this surreal park, you’ll be amazed by the various works of art that make up this enchanting place.
Viale Parco Museo Santa Barbara, 89045 Mammola RC
MACA – Museum of Contemporary Art (Acri, CS)
The village of Acri sits at the foot of the Sila Mountains. It may not be well-known, but its historical importance dates back to the Magna Grecia. It is also where you’ll find the MACA – Museum of Contemporary Art, which houses the works of Silvio Vigliaturo.
Silvio was born in Acri and spent most of his childhood there. His passion for art started at the very young age of 10 when he became interested in drawing. Following the death of his father, he and his family moved to Turin. And that’s when Silvio’s artistic journey began to evolve into what it is today. Through his various mentors, he became fascinated with colors and design. This led him to experiment with materials like steel, glass, and ceramic.
An extensive permanent collection of Silvio’s works are on display in the Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened in Acri in June 2006. The works were donated by Silvio Vigliaturo to the city and beautifully demonstrate his artistic transformation from drawing to painting to sculpture.
Palazzo Sanseverino Falcone, Via Giovanni Falcone, 1, 87041 Acri CS
FIUMEFREDDO BRUZIO (Fiumefreddo Bruzio, CS)
Perched in the mountains overlooking the Tyrrhenian coastline sits Fiumefreddo Bruzio. This ancient borgo is worth visiting for its incredible views and charming historic center. One visit and you see why it was named one of Italy’s Most Beautiful Hamlets. It is also the place that captured the heart of a Sicilian artist, Salvatore Fiume. In 1975, as Salvatore was driving up to Milan from Sicily, he stopped in the hamlet, mainly because the name piqued his curiosity. He fell in love with the town, which became his muse. Over the course of his remaining years, he left his artistic mark on this ancient hamlet, with one of his most important works of art within the castle walls of what remains of the Castello della Valle.
In 1975, he painted frescoes on some of the castle walls, but unfortunately, they disappeared due to the climate and exposure. In 1996, when he was 81, he repainted the interior walls of one of the last standing rooms in the castle. The room, now called “La Stanza dei Desideri”, is just one of the many angles of this village that showcase the eclectic style of Salvatore Fiume.
Wander the narrow cobblestone streets of this enchanting medieval town and discover the beautiful artwork donated to this town by Salvatore Fiume. Along with the castle, we recommend visiting the Chiesa di San Rocco (St. Roch Church) to admire the church ceiling, which Salvatore painted with the miracles of St. Roch. Plan to stay for the glorious sunset in one of the town’s two main squares where you’ll also find a couple of Salvatore Fiume’s sculptures.
Are you interested in exploring Calabria? My Bella Vita Travel would love to help you plan your customized Calabrian vacation. Or check out one of our small group tours; we offer new and unique experiences every year.
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