Fiumara d’Arte literally translates as River of Art, and consists of an unusual attempt at exhibiting contemporary sculpture in a kind of open-air museum, that takes advantage of the natural landscape to arrive at a symbiosis of art and nature and provides interested visitors an opportunity of exploring secluded and off-the-beaten-track spots.

The first stretch of the itinerary snakes its way along the coast; then, it ventures inland through a forested region between the Nebrodi and the Madonie Mountains. The project, initiated a few years ago, is continuing, thanks to the cooperation of contemporary artists from Italy and abroad. Allow at least half a day.

Start from Santo Stefano di Camastra driving the coast road westwards. The first majestic sculpture looms into sight on the right, sitting on the beach; it is called Monument to a Dead Poet, by Tano Festa, and conceived as a window looking out to sea and to infinity; like the two elements, sea and sky, that surround it, it is blue.

A little further on, a small bridge aknowledges the Tusa river; there, in the middle of this almost permanently dry river bed, stands the second work, Pietro Consagra’s Matter could have not existed, which is a linear conglomeration which breaks out onto two levels, one white, the other black.

Following the river upstream, the road runs in the direction of Pettineo. It climbs up into the Nebrodi mountains, providing beautiful views over the landscape, where humankind evidence dwindles to disappear giving way to the overriding presence of nature. The road is bordered on both sides by olive trees resembling, in their contorted shape, tortured, imprisoned souls; this makes way tor a sun-drenched landscape ablaze with startlingly yellow bushes of flowering broom. Beyond Pettineo, which is nestled atop a hill, appears a work by Paolo Schiavocampo entitled A Curve Thrown After the Wind, shrouded in silence. At last, Castel di Lucio comes into view; a sign on the left points to Italo Lanfredini’s Ariadne, standing secluded atop a hill (as the road turns in a bend to the left, keep straight on). This windswept stone maze enclosed on all sides by a succession of towering moutains enjoys a fabulous location.

Back on the main road, follow the winding way to Mistretta to view one of the last artistic creations: the Ceramic Wall, to which some 40 artist contributed. Beyond Mistretta, take fork to Motta d’Affermo where Antonio Di Palma’s blue wave entitled the Mediterranean Energy dominates the landscape.

Go back to the coast side at the Hotel Atelier sul Mare in Castel di Tusa, where Antonio Presti once of the prime instigators and promoters of the Fiumara project, has made seveeral rooms available to artists and allowed them to transform them into works of art in their own right.

Another work deserves a mention: The Room of the Golden Boat by Hidetoshi

Nagasawa, sheltered within a cave on the bed of the river Romei, near Mistretta. Inside, the rock is entirely faced with plates of polished steel – most disorientating. Somewhere within the enclosed place, a pink marble tree has been “planted” in the ground, on which the shell of an overturned boat has been built, and covered in gold leaf. This work, however, is not intended to be seen; the reason for its existence lies in the fact that it exists at all. As such, we are encouraged not to go and see it, but merely to imagine it.

The project is revitalised annually with a great event held in Pettineo when kilometres of canvas are laid out along the lenght of the main street and dozens of painters arrive to claim their stretch of allocated space. (The event usually takes place in June. To confirm the dates

telephone the Hotel Atelier sul Mare).


Living Art

The Hotel Atelier sul Mare, in Castel di Tusa, (via Cesare Battisti 4, tel.  0921/334295) has succeeded in realising a truly original dream and exploring the concept of how to exploit art in a new form. Various rooms have been handed over to artists to be transformed into works of art. What is particularly original, however, is that these statements of interior decoration are not static; on the contrary, they are in a continuous state of flux. For each new guest is invited to leave his/her own individual imprint as he/she may feel inclined. The idea is to create an interaction between the existing work, which with time becomes inert and part of the everyday furnishing, and the artist who during his/her stay will contemplate and inwardly digest the decor before responding with his/her personal touch. The predominant theme is water – the sea, treated as a fundamental element and purifier of life, the return to man’s basic origins and hence to humankind’s very existence. Each artist interprets this idea in different ways.

Every guest is given the choice of the passionate red of Power (by Maurizio Marchetti), the passionate red of the white of the Absorbing Nest (by Paolo Icaro), the minimalist Mystery for the Moon (by Hidetoshi Nagasawa), the deeply reflective Denial of the Sea (by Fabrizio Plessi), or the complicated and crooked Room of the Prophet, to name but a few of them. The rooms are accessible only to those spending the night there.