Art in Nature

Exploring naturistic art in the Trentino Town of Borgo Valsugana

art museum in trentino

Patrick Dougherty, 2011. You are Free: Calling attention to the relationship between mankind and the natural world – specifically mankind’s reliance on trees for shelter

It was one of those hot and stuffy August days in Italy where I needed some escapism to a place where I could regulate my breathing pattern again.  A place where I could explore nature without, quite frankly, looking like panting dog on speed. 

My escapist adventure to Valsugana, the south-east part of the region of Trentino, was not only a cooling revitalisation but also a place to experience art in nature. It’s a region where you can luxuriate yourself in natural settings, amongst an interfusion of the Dolomite Mountains, woods and lakes. Towns and villages here are also full to the brim with treasure chests of history and beauty.

Where art collides with nature

Arte Sella Exhibits

Giulian Mauri, 2001. Tree Cathedral; Urs Twellmann, 2012. Geometric Wood:

A major highlight of my stay in Valsuganawas visiting an internationally renowned contemporary art exhibition. In the area of Val di Sella, Arte Sella was initiated in 1986 to demonstrate the creative idea of ‘art in nature’. Where modern works made from nature itself (woods, rocks and trees), are set in the fields and forests of the green, picturesque and uncontaminated nature trail.  It has been and still is a natural hub where creations of international artists interact with the environment and undergo the natural processes of growth and change.

The most well-known artworks are the Tree Cathedral, made in 2001 by the artist Giuliano Mauri and the Natural Theatre by Roberto Conte, in 2006.

Roberto Conte, 2006. Natural Theatre

Roberto Conte, 2006. Natural Theatre

It is an enchanting space where you can experience art, nature and culture simultaneously.  Your senses can be challenged while also having the freedom for long moments of reflection.

What’s also unique about Arte Sella is that you could go and visit on numerous occasions, and yet every experience would be different.  Changing seasons, and how the works of art transfigure with the surrounding environment will make you see things from a different perspective every time.

And even if the exhibition were ever to close, it would by default recompose itself back to nature’s natural cycle; making this a showcase example of how you can create an innovative and engaging tourism attraction, yet environmentally sustainable at the same time.

Arte Sella also brings together other aspects of culture including music.  Classical concerts often take place, where the sound of musical instruments is vibrated within the harmony and nature of the Dolomites.  “If God had to choose a place to play, he would come here” commented world-renowned violinist, Ivry Gitlis, following a visit to the exhibition.

For the authentic traveller looking for an original and real experience, Arte Sella is a must-visit attraction.

Information about Arte Sella

  • Arte Sella is open to visitors all year round (except Christmas day) and is 8km from the town of Borgo Valsugana where I stayed
  • It can take up to four hours to view all the exhibits, but you can also see certain sections which can be broken down to 30 minutes and two-hour visits
  • A standard adult ticket costs 6 Euros.
  • For more information, visit


Your hotel

To make the most of this neighbourhood, stay at the boutique hotel, 1775 Locanda in Borgo, Borgo Valsugana

Junior Hotel Suite al piano padronale
Nathalie Salas

Nathalie Salas is a freelance travel writer and marketing consultant based between the UK, Italy and the UAE. Pursuing her passion of boutique hotels, she reviews hotels around the world as well as helping them to improve their marketing strategies. Nathalie is Editor & Founder of travel site Perfect Boutique Hotel, writing also for, Masquerade and Global Citizen.

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