The Contemporary Art Installations & Ancient Towns of ‘M’Arte’

‘The Floating Castle’ by Tom Muller

Driving through the Cecina valley, the castles, villages, and ancient churches pass rapidly, interspersed with grand views of the landscapes of Tuscany. Located in the province of Pisa, the Cecina valley melds centuries-old human history with the natural beauty of the environment. Here, one can find not only fortresses, medieval villages, and ancient churches, but also the largest geothermal area in continental Europe, where roughly 27% of Tuscan energy is produced.

In June the sixth edition of “M’Arte,” entitled “The Nature of Things,” opened in Montegemoli’s Piazza del Casalino. “M’Arte,” a contraction of the two words “Montegemoli” and “Art,” is a biennial project curated by Eleonora Raspi, conceived and promoted by the Pro Loco Montegemoli and Querceto.  This event incorporates the work of contemporary visual and performance artists in the towns of Pomarance, Volterra, Montegemoli, Querceto and Larderello, located in the Cecina valley.

As the sun slowly descended into the green hills, and the soft sounds of wind and birds whistle through the cypress trees, a group of artists, critics, and children explored the art installed in the village of Montegemoli. The site-specific works were created by five artists from various parts of Italy and Australia: Alessandro Amaducci, Laura Cionci, Eleonora Manca, Franco Menicagli, and Tom Muller.

While walking from one exhibition to the other, magenta lights and water vapor sent the village afloat into the sky, a work beautifully conceptualized by the artist Tom Muller. Strolling into a nondescript washroom, Eleonora Manca’s exhibition of images, hand-written notes, and typewriter poetry submerges the viewer into the ethereal world of nostalgia.

In an old bakery, a rush of sensory sensations welcomes the guests, as the fragrance of local plants infuse a room which hosts 40 digital portraits of local inhabitants, another incredible installation by artist Laura Cionci. After exploring the various other works, the guests and their families were invited to enjoy a dinner accompanied by enjoy soothing jazz performed by the Trio La Mancusa.

“M’arte” exhibitions will be open to the public until July 2, free of charge, with the schedule as follows: Montegemoli on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5 pm to 9 pm; Geothermal Museum in Larderello every day from 9:30 to 6:30 pm; Casa Bicocchi Museum in Pomarance Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4 pm to 8 pm, Volterra’s Civic Gallery every day from 9 am to 7 pm. For more information see

In addition, the Cecina valley has a multitude of other unique experiences to offer visitors, such as the mining museum in Montecatini, the Palazzo Bicocchi House Museum in Pomarance, and the fortress where one can witness a panoramic view of Tuscany, the Rocca Sillana. Wine tastings, dinners, concerts, guided tours, and much more are available to visitors with the assistance of the Tourist Board of Volterra.