This time we took a two-hour drive
from Cortona towards Peccioli, a municipality of circa 5,000 souls, located
30km north of Volterra, in the province of Pisa. This medieval village forms
the surprising backdrop to numerous contemporary works of art.
On entering the village one can’t help but
notice this colourful, spiral-shaped footbridge - nominated “Endless
Sunset” which connects the historic centre above to the newer parts of
the village below.
Before going further, we reveal the reason for
this strange combination of medieval houses and contemporary works of art. Strangely
enough, the cause can be found in…waste!
In 1989 the municipality of Peccioli decided to
set up a public-private company for the sustainable processing of waste: instead
of arousing opposition or hostility from the local residents who might have
considered such an enterprise a threat, the local council called for their
participation. 64% of the shares are now owned by the municipality, while the remaining
36% are owned by local residents.
The activities of the landfill site have not
only led to financial gain for the community, but also to extensive investment
in public works and new technology (for clean sustainable energy). Under the enterprising
guidance of the town’s mayor, Renzo Macelloni, funds have also been utilized to
embellish the municipality with contemporary works of art: Artists from all
over the world have contributed.
Here is a
with the Palazzo Senza Tempo: Once owned by the Medici dynasty, the
palace was renovated and is now used for various socio-cultural initiatives:
exhibitions, meetings, workshops, ….
impressive terrace floats twenty meters above the ground and gives a panoramic
view of the landscapes and natural beauty surrounding Peccioli.
One of the
walls was painted in 2021 by Arnold Buren:
On one of
the facades in the city center you can see dozens of pictures of eyes... They
are the eyes of the inhabitants of Peccioli, which were photographed by
Vittorio Corsini in 2017 and combined into a work of art 'Lo sguardo di Peccioli':
through alleys and covered corridors you will find light installations here and
art not only in the old center of Peccioli, but also in the outlying districts.
the British artist David Tremlett (known for the Cappella del Barolo interior in
Piemonte) convinced the inhabitants of Via di Mezzo to have their houses painted
in exotic colours:
through the streets we meet other artworks: a marble sphere in front of
the church, and its ‘negative space’ a little further on
But the real
highlight is situated a few kilometers from Peccioli, just outside the Legoli
district: the 'Impianto Belvedere', the large imposing waste dump where several
trucks unload their waste every day in a remote valley. Instead of hiding the waste processing plant,
an open-air museum has been created here!
Tremlet (2017) colored the retaining walls and silos like a
construction of Lego blocks.
further on, two gigantic human statues made of polystyrene (5 meters!) rise
from the ground ('Presenze' - 'Giganti di Peccioli'). They symbolize the
philosophy of the Peccioli project: the rebirth of life on a place where there
is only destruction (the circular economy).
the spectacular decor for an amphitheatre, where all kinds of cultural events
By the way,
just outside the center of Peccioli you will find a third sculpture and another
theater (Fonte Mazzola):
and surprising, that's how you can describe the visit to Peccioli!
Be sure to
plan a full day. And for a visit to the waste processing plant (with the
Giganti) you should book in advance by telephone.