Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Laura Teso
Arte Sella Sculpture park was one of those little known places I discovered thanks to Instagram. I saw a friend’s photos that caught my attention immediately. It’s a project combining art and nature: wood sculptures immersed in a wood and in a park, at the foot of the Dolomites in Trentino.
It was 1986 when a group of friends, observing the beautiful garden of Villa Strobele, starting point of the hiking trail, started to think about a project involving nature and contemporary art. After a long period of planning, public relations, contacts with local but above all foreign artists, the first works came to light. The aim of the project is to protect, preserve and give a new value to nature. Arte Sella park also hosts art, music and literature events.
How to visit Arte Sella Sculpture park
You have two choices:
- For the more sportive people: See everything. Hike along the (free) 3km trail that goes deep into the woods until the Malga Costa in about 90 minutes. Malga Costa is a tiny mountain cottage where to grab a bite. There you can find toilets. It is also accessible with car for disabled people.
Along the trail, you can admire 25 works scattered here and there. At the end of the path, a park (7€ fee each) hosts the best works. It takes another 40 minutes visit.
- For the lazy bones, like me, you can skip the wood trail and get further with the car, directly at the parking lot Parcheggio Carlon (look for it on Google Maps). From there you reach Malga Costa and the park with about 10 minutes walk. Or take the shuttle (should be 1€ each). This part is quite easy to visit and, as I said above, it requires less than an hour. By the way, next to the parking lot there was a small kiosk selling strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. My dream! Pity the prices were the same of a city supermarket!
The works in Arte Sella Sculpture park
The most famous work is the Trees Cathedral by Giuliano Mauri. It was built using more than 3.000 branches, weaved to form a three naves cathedral, with 80 columns (12 meters high). Inside each column, there’s a little hornbeam tree, destined to grow and take the place of the provisory structure.I was told is particularly suggestive in snow. I can imagine!
My favourite works were
Through the soul by Will Beckers. I found it very evocative and touching. It symbolises the deep relationship between life and nature. The spirals of the branches reminded me of hundreds of thoughts that daily dwell our minds, so I think the title is very appropriate. Beautiful work.
115075 by Jaehyo Lee. One of the most photographed in the park. I had to patiently wait to take a picture. I was surprised because I thought it was rough. On the contrary it was polished and smooth. I loved it because it’s a double artwork. It’s a work by itself. But it also communicates with the surrounding landscape, like a window. So that you linger there and admire the beautiful mountains in front of you with a new perspective.
There were other amazing installations, but I don’t want to spoil all the fun.
I loved Arte Sella because, there, art and nature really live together. You cannot say where one begins and the other ends. You know I love gardens. This is no garden, no park, but something more. Somewhere also spiritual, not in a religious sense, but in a universal well-being sense.
The place is evocative and inspires kindness and peacefulness. I also spotted many children completely captured by the place. There should be more examples like this in Italy and in the world. I’m thankful for spotting those photos on Instagram. I ended up visiting a park that has now a special place in my heart.
A friend of mine wasn’t as enthusiast as I was, but mainly because she visited the park on a crowded Sunday. She reported seeing a lot of people loud and disrespectful of the place. I was lucky enough to visit the park in a quiet mid-week day and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Therefore I suggest you to visit it on a quiet day if possible.
Where to eat
I suggest you a stop at Osteria Caraco. Genuine local food, extreme kindness of the girls, and nice decor. 10 minutes by car from Arte Sella Sculpture park. I ate there and everything was delicious.
Arte Sella Sculpture park
Borgo Valsugana – Trento
November, December, January, February: 10am – 5pm every day
March, April, May, October: 10am – 6pm every day
June, July, August, September: 10am – 7pm every day
Closed on December 25