‘If I made it back then in London, I can make it now in Bristol’ I thought while collecting all my stuff spread throughout the seat and texting my super auntie that I was almost there. Our family reunion in London was about to begin, and I was feeling grateful for the sunny weather and definitely excited for being back to one of my favourite places ever.
I walk through the curtain that separates, but –at the same time- links, the genuine neighbourhood of San Lorenzo from Palazzo Donnaregina, the 19th-century building that is home to the contemporary art museum of Naples. It’s a garish curtain, which without a big preamble leads into a visionary space designed by Daniel Buren. The French artist has, in fact, transformed the rigid architectural lines of this elegant palace into a wonderland of colourful panels, mirrors and disorientating perspectives that create infinite reflections, deconstructing and inverting the usual look of the entrance to the museum.
I lay down on one of those soft, round seats dotting the post-industrial yard of Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, a dynamic cultural centre for contemporary art in the northern outskirts of Milan.
This building, originally used for manufacturing trains, comprises several large halls where site-specific installations are shown, these experimental and thought-provoking works that makes Pirelli Hangar Bicocca one of the best contemporary art sites in Italy. Keep reading →
I duck out from all the shouting and enter the first wing on the right, where I find the Collezione Farnese, originally located in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome, this collection of ancient sculptures put together first by Pope Paolo III and later by his descendants.
Last time I was in Naples, I fell in love with the panoramic view over the city from Castello Sant’Elmo on the Vomero hill. So, when I heard about a jazz rag’n blues concert organized by Campania Grand Tour to be held at the castle as a tribute to Enrico Caruso, I knew I had to be there. The concert was inside the former prison of the castle, now the Napoli Novecento museum, which houses a collection of works by local artists from the last century.
‘Listen’, ‘Pss’, ‘Grr’. So many voices are coming out from the funnels hung on the ceiling that I can’t hear mine. Suddenly, everything is quiet for a few seconds, but even the silence –at this point- gets me muddled. Then, again, more voices are calling to me: ‘Look’, ‘Ehi’, ‘Pss’, ‘Woof’. Calls, bleary sounds, background noises that were scattered through the days of those people who used to live inside this very building, the psychiatric hospital of Santa Maria della Pietà in Rome.
The thing about Skopje’s museums is that not only do they constitute a door through which you can enter Macedonian arts, history or culture, but they are also housed inside beautiful locations. From an ancient, multi-domed hammam or the old railway station torn down by the earthquake in 1963, to the glassy, late-modernist architecture at the top of the Kale Fortress’ panoramic hill, Skopje’s museums are fascinating in more than one way.
The People’s Republic of Bulgaria was the official name of the Bulgarian socialist republic that existed from 1946 to 1990. The Bulgarian Communist Party was ruling the country and the prime minister was Georgi Dimitrov until 1949, then Valko Chervenkov and Todor Zhivkov after him. I found the Bulgarian socialist past an excellent ‘fil-rouge’ to dig into Sofia’s architecture, art and monuments, from the city centre to the Museum of Socialist Art and the several areas in the outskirts built according to the standards of socialist architecture to accommodate the multitude of people who came from the countryside to work in the new factories that the Party wanted. Keep reading →
It goes without saying that I turned the book launch in Milan into a whole weekend of explorations!
My day in Milan begun at the hipster Pave Café: sat on a yellow chair, I checked my day’s plan while sipping a creamy cappuccino; the plan included a brand new museum located in a res-industrial district, the monumental cemetery and some outer areas off the beaten path.
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