Private pop art collection

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Tuscan Strongholds of
Contemporary Art


Be amazed as you are swept into the world of the contemporary artist just outside the city of Florence. Visit an historic 15th century fortified villa and hear the tale of romance and political intrigue that surrounded its infamous occupants. Be surprised and delighted by the Villa’s original 1970’s furnishings, and discover a private modern art collection rarely on view. Change atmosphere with a visit to the fascinating Centro Pecci, Italy’s newly renovated premier purpose-built contemporary art gallery and center for exhibits, installations and multimedia events. Experience contemporary art pieces in two diverse settings and change your perspective on art in Tuscany.

A new side of Tuscany

Go off the beaten path on this visit to Prato, the second largest city in Tuscany.  Experience the vitality of contemporary art just a mere half an hour from the Renaissance splendor of Florence.  Prato is often overlooked as an industrial center focused on textiles, but you will uncover the brilliant modern art experience at Prato’s heart and the vibrant art museum collections often missed by visitors to Tuscany.  Expect the unexpected as you explore an ancient hilltop villa and a modern urban museum...

Go off the beaten path on this visit to Prato, the second largest city in Tuscany.  Experience the vitality of contemporary art just a mere half an hour from the Renaissance splendor of Florence.  Prato is often overlooked as an industrial center focused on textiles, but you will uncover the brilliant modern art experience at Prato’s heart and the vibrant art museum collections often missed by visitors to Tuscany.  Expect the unexpected as you explore an ancient hilltop villa and a modern urban museum. 

You journey outside Florence and into the hills that are home to the local Carmignano wine on your way to Prato.  An ancient city dating back to the Etruscans, Prato is recognized throughout the world for its long history of excellent textiles.  You will have the special opportunity to see beyond the economic growth of the city’s principal industry, to the unsung richness of Prato’s hospitality, cultural diversity, and fascinating modern art scene.  You will contrast and compare a centuries old villa and the juxtaposition of its modern art collection with a newly renovated contemporary art center whose architects strove to engage, challenge and inspire their visitors.  The natural beauty of the rolling Tuscan countryside studded with vineyards, olive groves and dark, slender cyprus trees is the constant backdrop to a day filled with variety, paradox, contrast and contemporary art pieces that will awaken your senses to a new side of Tuscany.

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The wonder of modern art

Begin your examination of contrasts as you drive through the timeless scenery of Tuscany to arrive at Villa Il Cerretino, an ancient medieval fort that became the 16th century home of Francesco I de’ Medici and his long time secret love, Bianca Cappello.  Beware, the villa is not just what it seems! From there you travel to the center of industrial Prato to the fabulous Centro per L’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci. You will feel the stark modernism of the architecture as it stands out against the gentle landscape and appreciate the unusual way these contrasts unbalance you and encourage you to rethink your perspective on Tuscany and its fine art collections....

Begin your examination of contrasts as you drive through the timeless scenery of Tuscany to arrive at Villa Il Cerretino, an ancient medieval fort that became the 16th century home of Francesco I de’ Medici and his long time secret love, Bianca Cappello.  Beware, the villa is not just what it seems! From there you travel to the center of industrial Prato to the fabulous Centro per L’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci. You will feel the stark modernism of the architecture as it stands out against the gentle landscape and appreciate the unusual way these contrasts unbalance you and encourage you to rethink your perspective on Tuscany and its fine art collections. 

Imagine the intrigue behind the romance of Francesco, ruler of the Florentine empire and Bianca, the aristocratic teenage bride of a Florentine businessman.  Hear the story of how they came together after the deaths of their spouses, only to be murdered by Francesco’s own brother. This ancient story perfectly suits the ancient building that became their home.  The surprise awaits you inside the villa, which houses a private modern art collection so unique it once featured on the cover of Vogue Casa magazine. You will move from the rural countryside to the busy modern city and experience the wonder of modern art and architecture at the Centro Pecci.  Designed by Rational architect Italo Gamberini, the museum opened in 1988 and houses a collection of over 1000 pieces by contemporary artists. In 2016 the museum reopened after an extensive renovation and now incorporates a futuristic space-ship shaped extension designed by Rotterdam based Indonesian architect Maurice Nio.

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Discover the contrasts and balances

Villa Il Cerretino was restored by the current owners in the 1970’s and is now home to a mint condition collection of 1970’s furnishings designed by Mario Ceroli and other designers from one of Italy’s most prestigious furniture design firms, Poltronova.  You will experience the juxtaposition of the modern retro furnishings with the ancient walls of the building, and you will be further amazed by the incredible collection of contemporary art pieces from the Italian Pop Art era. The Centro Pecci is home to many collections covering themes such as Italian Arte Povera and Transvanguardia, visual poetry, artistic photography and radical architecture, all of which thrill you and challenge you as you gain insight into this lesser known style of Italian art museum collections.  Your private guided exploration of these two very different yet complementary venues creates a multi-layered collage of impressions and opens your mind to the impact of contemporary art in Italy...

Villa Il Cerretino was restored by the current owners in the 1970’s and is now home to a mint condition collection of 1970’s furnishings designed by Mario Ceroli and other designers from one of Italy’s most prestigious furniture design firms, Poltronova.  You will experience the juxtaposition of the modern retro furnishings with the ancient walls of the building, and you will be further amazed by the incredible collection of contemporary art pieces from the Italian Pop Art era. The Centro Pecci is home to many collections covering themes such as Italian Arte Povera and Transvanguardia, visual poetry, artistic photography and radical architecture, all of which thrill you and challenge you as you gain insight into this lesser known style of Italian art museum collections.  Your private guided exploration of these two very different yet complementary venues creates a multi-layered collage of impressions and opens your mind to the impact of contemporary art in Italy. 

Explore modern art and its place in Italy.  At Villa Il Cerretino you will be greeted with that most Italian of traditional welcomes, a drink and a light snack, which is your invitation to become an honorary member of the families who lived here over the centuries while you stroll through the villa precincts and enjoy a private viewing of the collection.  The villa belonged to the Contini Bonacossi family until the 1960’s and it was here that they produced their famous Carmignano wines. The private collection counts among its 33 works pieces by Roberto Barni, Umberto Buscioni, Gianni Ruffi, Valerio Adami and Sottsass. You are free to enjoy this intimate journey back to the 1970’s, discovering the contrasts and balances between the building and the collection while the villa is closed to the public.  Once in Prato you will be grateful to the famous textile industry whose entrepreneurial families founded the Centro Pecci. Upon arrival at this recently reopened marvel, you will be personally greeted by the museum’s curator or director and welcomed to the collection, the building and the grounds as a special guest. You will view not only the contemporary art gallery collection of over 1000 pieces by 300 artists dating from the 1950’s through to today, but you will revel in the building itself, a modern architectural masterpiece built in two stages by two different architects in two different time periods.

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