Land art? Outdoor artworks? There are many definitions for places like these that sometimes hold hidden treasures. Starting from the famous Burri’s Cretto in Sicily, we’ll head towards the Tarot Garden in the heart of Tuscany, passing through the Labyrinth of Ariadne and the Park of Monsters in Bomarzo. Finally, we’ll arrive at the Sound Garden of San Sperate, in Sardinia. A journey into art that will hold many surprises for art lovers, especially those who appreciate open-air installations.
#1 Cretto di Burri in Gibellina, Sicily
Starting from Palermo, it takes about an hour to reach Burri’s Cretto, the first stop of our journey. Not just an outdoor artwork but also a memorial. We are in Gibellina, which was destroyed by the earthquake that struck the Belice Valley in 1968. The ruins left by the catastrophe underwent an intervention designed by Alberto Burri. Created between 1985 and 1989, Burri’s Cretto remains one of the most interesting Land Art pieces on Italian soil.
#2 Giardino dei Tarocchi in Capalbio, Tuscany
We are near Capalbio, in the province of Grosseto, and here we find a very special place designed by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle: the Tarot Garden. A park that hosts 22 sculptures inspired by the world of Tarot cards. The history of this place begins in 1977, when the artist started building the sculptures with the help of other contemporary sculptors. The construction of these steel and concrete works, covered with glass, mirrors, and colorful ceramics, took 17 years and is now open for visitors from April to mid-October.
#3 Labirinto di Arianna in Castel Lucio, Sicily
Back to Sicily, but this time in Castel di Lucio, a small village in the Nebrodi mountains in the province of Messina. We are facing another Land Art piece set in a unique context, that of an actual open-air museum where the creator of this project, Antonio Presti, brought together many contemporary artists along the course of a river that no longer exists today. Specifically, it was the sculptor Italo Lanfredini who created the labyrinth on top of a hill not far from the town center. The artwork was inaugurated in 1989.
#4 Parco dei Mostri in Bomarzo, Viterbo
Also known as the Sacro Bosco of Bomarzo, this park was designed by Pirro Ligorio, the architect who completed St. Peter’s Basilica after Michelangelo‘s death. The project was commissioned by Pier Francesco Orsini almost 500 years ago and is located in Bomarzo, in the province of Viterbo. The park covers an area of three hectares and features large basalt statues, buildings with surreal characteristics, and riddles that disorient the visitor at every step. A place waiting to be discovered, containing giant turtles, sea monsters, mermaids, dragons, sphinxes, and many other creatures all immortalized in stone.
#5 Giardino Sonoro in San Sperate, Sardinia
TWe conclude our journey in Sardinia, at the Sound Garden of San Sperate. A curious place that artist Pinuccio Sciola had been using as a workshop since the 1960s, and which later became an open-air museum in the early 2000s. Throughout his life, Sciola kept his works in this garden, allowing visitors to hear the music emitted by the stones. The artist’s works haven’t always remained in San Sperate but have also traveled as genuine musical instruments, even making their way to Milan’s La Scala.