• June 8, 2023

The Tuscany of secrets: from the window on Florence to the Etruscan castle

On the one hand there is the curiosity to cross the threshold of one of the most luxurious hotels in Florence, that Villa San Michele with the facade attributed to Michelangelo that dominates the city from the hill of Fiesole; on the other hand, the pleasure of discovering two works by one of the most trendy artists of the moment, the Argentine Leandro Erlich that puts the clouds in a box or, as in the case of installation site specific made for the five-star L in Belmond, it opens windows to infinity.

"The Cloud"by Leandro Erlich in the historic Last Supper of Villa San Michele in Fiesole

“The Cloud”, by Leandro Erlich in the historic Last Supper of Villa San Michele in Fiesole

An experience that combines the utmost luxury offered by the English company, which among its jewels in the world also boasts the legendary Orient Express, and the prodigious research of Galleria Continua, one of the most international of Italian contemporary art galleries that is managed to establish itself on the world market starting in 1990 from San Gimignano. Together they created Mitico, called the “new era of artistic collaboration”, bringing a selection of international artists – among them Michelangelo Pistoletto – inside the historic gardens of four Belmond properties, from Venice to Taormina with a double stop in Tuscany.

From Fiesole to the clouds

And it is in Tuscany the heart of Mitico, in a path that builds an ideal triangle between Florence, San Gimignano and the Casole Castle. It starts from the gentle hill of Fiesole and from Villa San Michele, the boutique hotel housed in a Renaissance monastery and surrounded by terraced gardens that open onto one of the most beautiful views of Florence. Here, where too Brigitte Bardot loved to entertain himself in Florentine living rooms, Leandro Erlich created “Window & Ladder”, a window framed and completed by a staircase that invites the viewer to ideally double the potential of the gaze.

Villa San Michele, a Belmond Hotel, Florence

Villa San Michele, a Belmond Hotel, Florence

In contrast to the extreme spatiality of this installation, Erlich places his “The Cloud” under the frescoes of the historic Cenacle of the convent, a cloud composed of numerous floating glass plates that exploit the three-dimensionality to return, here too, an illusion of gaze. Both works will be open to visitors, by guests and non-guests, until 7 November.

Ultra-contemporary San Gimignano

Leave behind the Renaissance wonders of Villa San Michele, the journey to discover an unusually contemporary Tuscany stops in San Gimignano. This time not to admire its towers and discover its medieval wealth but to discover the exhibition spaces – housed between the hall of a former 1950s cinema and the window overlooking Piazza della Cisterna – of Galleria Continua. Founded in 1990 by three friends, Mario Cristiani, Lorenzo Fiaschi and Maurizio Rigillothe gallery and its artists, including Ai Weiwei, Carsten Höller, Jrthey went as far as China (where Continua was the first foreign gallery with an international program to open in 2004) and then Brazil, Cuba and France where in the heart of the Marais they host exhibition spaces and an Italian café.

Antony Gormley.  Frame II, 2021 Galleria Continua, San Gimignano

The Casole Castle, at the Belmond Hotel

From Tuscany to Taormina

Far from Tuscany, but still within the Belmond properties and the Mitico circuit, there are two other installations. The first, inaugurated during the 59th Biennale of art and open until November 19, is set up in the Casanova gardens of the historic Hotel Cipriani where the Indian artist Subodh Gupta exhibits his work “Cooking The World”: a house shaped by thousands of pots, pans and utensils, all objects discarded by the previous owners that testify to a past usefulness. To complete the trip to Italy signed by Belmond and Galleria Continua there is the intervention of Pascale Marthine Tayou at the Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina: two installations entitled “Coloring the World”, exhibited until 31 December 2022, which re-propose his “Les Routes du Paradis”, and feature four human-sized crystal totems.

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