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Palazzo Collicola and CAOS: contemporary art in Umbria
L'art en Ombrie

Palazzo Collicola and CAOS: contemporary art in Umbria

From the genius of Calder to the geometry of Pomodoro, Modern and contemporary art from Spoleto to Terni.

Welcome to the city of the Festival of Two Worlds. If you have the time and interest, this city, which the Romans called Spoletium before it became a Longobard Duchy and then an important Renaissance centre, is steeped in history and full of marvellous things to see. The origins of the points of interest of your journey today date to 1962, when the streets and piazzas of the historical centre were graced with 104 sculptures – some donated to the city – made by 54 of the best sculptors of the 20th century. This is why, still today, you can admire such works as the Teodelapio done by Alexander Calder (in front of the train station), or the Traveller's Column by Arnaldo Pomodoro (between the Flaminia and Viale Trento e Trieste). To visit the Palazzo Collicola Arti Visive Museum you have to go to the centre of town. The museum has three main sections. On the ground floor you'll find a coffee shop that is, in and of itself, a work of art and the collection of art donated by Giovanni Carandente: works of all sorts by world famous artists like Arnaldo Pomodoro, Henry Moore, Ettore Colla, Beverly Pepper, Lynn Chadwick, Afro Basaldella, David Smith, Alexander Calder, Henri Moore, Nino Franchina and Pietro Consagra, as well as a library with more than 30,000 books on contemporary art. On the first floor is the grand 18th century apartment of the Collicola family, while the top floor is devoted to large exhibitions. When you are done here, head to Terni, where medieval Umbria has a more modern face. Maraniello, Mastroianni, Ceccobelli and Pomodoro have graced the city with sacred and profane works of art. Go to the CAOS, or Centro Arti Opificio Siri, originally a pontifical foundry, it later became a factory and then a chemical research company.

This site has marked the history of Terni and is still today the epicentre of the city. From production to culture: it is now home to the Archaeology Museum and the Aurelio de Felice Modern and Contemporary Art Museum. It also houses an experimental theatre, a cafeteria in which to relax, a bookshop and educational and event spaces. The idea behind it was to create a synergy between all the arts, a place in which to learn about the concept of contemporary art in all its many forms. Set up withinnovative criteria, it hosts works from the 15th century to today. Among the artists represented are Aurelio De Felice, Severini, Chagall, Mirò, Picasso and Kandinsky. It is a great example of how to make good conversion of an abandoned industrial site.