The magical places, the ones that make us feel good and spend a leisurely day are often times found not too far from us. You do have to look for them, find them, and have the desire to explore them. One such place is in the province of Pistoia, outside the small town of Santomato; it is a setting that offers the chance to enjoy moments of happiness surrounded by the beauty of our natural environment.
Sto parlando della Collezione Gori situata a Villa Celle. Dietro un maestoso ed imponente cancello si nasconde un tesoro prezioso. Un luogo sconosciuto a chi ci abita vicino ma apprezzato in tutto il mondo. Il collezionista Giuliano Gori, nel giugno del 1982, ha aperto al pubblico la sua magnifica collezione di 16 opere "site-specific". Nel tempo queste sono aumentate a dismisura ed oggi, infatti, le opere ammontano a più di settanta.
In a romantic garden of about 74 acres, in an area that produces Chianti Montalbano wine and extra virgin olive oil, Villa Celle opens its door to all those travelers who love art and love to get lost in it as if in a dream.
The various artists were invited to the villa and told to find their spot in nature to be inspired by. Finding their favorite space within the garden, they designed their work for that spot. Nothing was left to chance. Each work is located in a particular place [outside or within a historic building] because the artist wanted it to be there. You too, when you visit the villa, will need to find your ideal or favorite place, making sure to not miss any of the works without stopping and seeing what it evokes in you. You must experience them, as they were meant to do. You must feel part of the game, become a part of the maze of feelings and colors. The installations are an integral part of the landscape, and you are the star of your dream, free to wander among works of art.
The journey begins even before crossing the large iron gate into the estate with the work Large Iron by Alberto Burri, located in the garden of the square in front of the entrance. The gigantic work of steel painted red, with a bit of imagination, takes the form of an onion [and it is called precisely that in the local area].
Go in with your car all the way to the parking lot to start your guided tour. The first work that will amaze you is For Those Who Fly by Luigi Mainolfi, a bench located on the roof of the farm in memory of Pina Gori who loved to watch the sunset from the terrace (the first photo of at the top of the article).
The walking itinerary across the park and the historic buildings should last about four hours. During your journey, you will find many art installations to fall in love with. The Labyrinth by Robert Morris will drive you into a sequence of steep roads and sharp turns.
Large open spaces will open up in front of you as if by magic. The garden, you will discover, is enormous and around every corner lurks a new work to discover.
The Floating Sculpture Celle by Marta Pan within a pond cradles with the breath of the wind the two souls, mother and son, which sail in the water in complete freedom.
Cube Without a Cube by Sol Lewitt is a sculpture in white cement at the center of the park and represents a cube missing an eighth of its form. It seems perfect, but if you go around it, you will notice the missing part.
Not far away is Marco Tirelli's Excelle, composed of mysterious shapes that seem metaphysical totems hidden amongst the sycamores and cedars in the south-west section of the park.
Three other works I fell madly in love with are:
- Katarsis by Magdalena Abakanowicz: in a boxed space, thirty-three bronze figures arranged in four rows offer a strong message, a disturbing situation and macabre view from the front as all of the figures are without arms and legs and are open.
- La cabane éclatée 4 aux salles by Daniel Buren: a play of lights and colors, mirrors and marble. A house with its doors exploded. Go in and have fun. Walk the spaces, find the colors.
- Theme and Variations II by Fausto Melotti: a sweet work, captivating and sinuous it meanders on a body of water in the garden. The stainless steel elements are reflected in the lake, and if you listen carefully, you can hear the sounds and vibrations from the balls and chains that move to the rhythm of the wind.
There are many other artists, and many more works waiting to be discovered but I do not want to ruin the surprise more than I've already done. I want to leave you the task of continuing the exploration in this parallel world which is the Gori Collection at Fattoria di Celle.
You should book a month ahead of time, indicating various dates that are possible and the park will try to accommodate your request. The collection can be visited between May and end of September, only those who can do the 4-5 hour walk should even consider visiting the park as the tour cannot be shortened. Parking and the visit is free. It is closed on Sundays, national holidays and part of August. For more details and to book the guided visit, follow the instructions given here.
Collezione Gori – Fattoria di Celle
via Montalese 7 - 51030 Santomato (Pistoia)
Enjoy your journey into nature!