Umbria Contemporary art locations: Citta’ di Castello, Perugia, Spello, Trevi, Spoleto, Terni

Umbria Museum
Photo © Roberto Romano

If you are a lover of contemporary art then Umbria may give you a pleasant surprise…. Lets start from Citta’ di Castello, which houses the collection of its most famous citizen: Alberto Burri.

The collection has been formed through the donation of the artist to the Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini and is today exhibited in the two seats of Palazzo Albizzini, in Via Albizzini, 1, and in the ex tobacco drying plant, in via Pierucci.

Burri, one of the most important figures of the artistic panorama after the Second World War, starting from the 50’s abandoned the traditional medium of oils and chose materials as protagonists of his art. With his series’ of Bags, Irons, Plastics, Wood, Clays, the artist highlights all of the expressive possibilities of the materials: a poor and unusual material.

Umbria contemporary art

If we move from Citta’ di Castello to Perugia, we will discover how the history of art of the twentieth century has also left its mark on the principal town. In fact, in the first years of the XIX century, a small group of young artists explicitly contested the teachings of the Accademia di Belle Arti and, intolerant of the suffocating atmosphere of the town, they showed their interest in the teachings of Filippo Tommaso Martinetti, father of Futurism, whose echoes, even if confusedly, were also reaching the province.

The undisputed leader of the group was Gerardo Dottori, one of the protagonists of Italian futurism, among the first founders of aeropainting. The originality of Dottori’s art was in the know-how of connecting futurism with representation of landscapes: the Umbrian landscape, naturally, which remained the artist’s source and main point of inspiration. Palazzo Penna, in the heart of Perugia, recently re-structured, houses several works of art by Gerardo Dottori, such as the famous “Trittico della Velocita’”.

Villa Fidelia-Spello Umbria contemporary art

The collection of contemporary art at Villa Fidelia, in Spello, is also very interesting and unusual. The beautiful sixteenth century villa, which is now property of the Province of Perugia, is the seat for interesting temporary exhibitions.

The Trevi Flash Art Museum of Contemporary Art can be found in the heart of Trevi, a small town near to Spoleto, inside the sixteenth century Palazzo Lucarini. The museum organises temporary exhibitions, personal or collective, of the most interesting artists on the local and international scene.

Established in 1992 from an agreement between the Municipality of Trevi and Giancarlo Politi, the Museum offers a calendar of six-seven exhibitions each year.

Flash Art Museum-Trevi

Leaving Trevi, our journey carries on to Spoleto where it is possible to visit the Galleria civica di arte moderna e contemporanea (Civic Gallery of modern and contemporary art). Since 2000 the Gallery has been housed in the splendid rooms of Palazzo Collicola, the ancient town house of the noble Collicola family.

Four of the fifteen rooms in the museum are dedicated to the sculptor from Spoleto, Leoncillo. The nucleus of the collection is made up of the works of the “Premio Spoleto”, an important artistic event that took place in the town between 1953 and 1968.

This section includes works by Mario Ceroli, with his wooden shapes, and by Pino Pascali, present with one of his most famous installations: “Il Mare” from 1966.

An entire room is dedicated to Sol Le Witt, an American conceptual artist, who loved the Umbrian town so much that he lived here several times.

Civic Gallery-Spoleto

From Spoleto we direct ourselves toward Terni where it is possible to visit two different types of museum: the first, the “Orneore Metelli” Municipal Art Gallery, housed within the walls of the eighteenth century Palazzo Gazzoli passes through the artistic life of the town through paintings and sculptures. The second, in the open air, is inherent to archaeology and the industrial heritage of Terni. The Art Gallery, dedicated to the naive painter from Terni, Orneore Metelli, preserves the most important works of local art between XIX and XX century, with particular reference to the lucky artistic season in Terni in the 30’s.

Terni is also characterised by archaeological-industrial evidence. In fact, during the last two centuries, the landscape of Terni has undergone modifications owing to the different types of industries: proto-industry, mechanical and textile, steel, chemical and electric.The idea of the Province of Terni and the Region of Umbria is to realise, following other Italian and European examples, an Eco-museum, i.e. an open air museum dedicated to archaeology and industrial heritage, through the recovery and re-use of its industrial heritage.

A lot has already been done: just think of the ex electro-chemical establishment of Papigno, on the left bank of the Nera, on the slopes of Monte Sant’Angelo, whose oldest warehouses, once restored, were used as a film set by Roberto Benigni (“La vita è bella” and “Pinocchio” were made here).
Courtesy of Umbria 2000