There are a couple of well-kept secrets about Florence’s contemporary art scene: 1) It exists, and 2) a lot of it is free. You may now fold up your wallet, unzip your artistic inhibitions and check out these suggestions for partaking in the Florence art scene of today:
1. Le Murate
Piazza Madonna della Neve
The first place I’d like to recommend is Le Murate, which means “walled” in English. The name probably comes from the fact that the space was once a nunnery and then became a prison (notice author’s abstinence from making inappropriate joke at this point—oops).
Le Murate is part of a municipal project to breathe a little life into the city’s contemporary art scene. The result is an entirely restored space where artists from around the world come to perform, discuss and exhibit their work. The events are intimate and the crowd is a genuine, curious bunch.
Be sure to also take a stroll outside to appreciate the restoration of adjacent buildings as part of the whole project. The mix of new architecture with old structures is definitely worth a glance.
Check out their Web site for a listing of upcoming events. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
Viale Giannotti 81/83/85
Open: Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fridays 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
My second recommendation is EX3, a concoction of the word “exhibition” and neighborhood 3, where the center is located. Set a short walk off the Arno’s left bank, the structure looks like a big gray box growing out from the sidewalk. Speaking of big, it could quite possibly contain the biggest exhibition room in all of Florence. Think modest airplane hangar or small town arena.
In terms of events, the center draws big names and, obviously, big projects. When you’re standing in the middle of that main room with speakers blaring and images projecting onto four colossal walls, you really feel carried to another place. An awesome experience! There are also smaller rooms with parallel exhibitions running at all times. Also, it’s all free! Consult their Web site to see what’s going on.