Arte Sella – Borgo Valsugana, Italy - Atlas Obscura
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Borgo Valsugana, Italy

Arte Sella

An open air museum in an Alpine mountain valley features works designed to blend in with—and disintegrate back into—their natural surroundings. 

Val Sella is a diminutive valley located in the the Valsugana region of Trentino. Peppered with tiny clusters of cottages and hotels but devoid of any substantial villages, it nevertheless contains one of the most intriguing art gardens in Italy.

In 1986, local artists began exhibiting their artwork in the woods of Val Sella. Due to its success, the one-off exhibition turned into a biannual event. But it wasn’t until 1996 that the exhibition became permanent, with a trail called the Percorso Artenatura entirely devoted to leading visitors through the unique sylvan gallery.

Presently, approximately 30 installations can be admired along the trail.  The underlying theme of Arte Sella is that all the exhibits are created using locally found materials—i.e. stones, leaves, logs, twigs, etc.  Some art pieces are even interwoven with live plants and trees, making them alive and ever-changing.  Art is, therefore, inserted and subjected to the living cycle of the surrounding environment. 

Visiting this exhibition means taking in the mastery of the artists blended in with the beauty, sound and smell of the woods, making it a quintessential multisensory experience.

Know Before You Go

Note that not all the items in the photographs can always be seen all the time. Please, check the Arte Sella website (www.artesella.it) if you want to find out what's on display at any given time.