It’s not as if Italy is ever short of things to enjoy – like priceless monuments to our collective cultural heritage and pizza and pasta free of corrupting non-Italian influences like garlic bread. But in the summer, the boot really turns the heat up.

Firstly, in a literal way, it gets hot on this peninsula, thankfully nestled between the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, with glorious beaches ribboning up and down the coasts. And then, when you’re looking for something more virtuous than roasting yourself to a rich golden brown, there are plenty of fascinating temporary Italian art exhibitions to see. Here are six of our favorites:

Gente di Palermo! (Citizens of Palermo) – Venice

  • Doge’s Palace – Prisons
  • 13 May- 24 November 2017
Drawing a sharp contrast between the joy of life and pain of death, the world premiere of Glaswegian artist Douglas Gordon’s richly evocative video installation.
Using reassembled footage from a home movie he shot in an underground cemetery in the Sicilian capital, this exhibition juxtaposes the joy and brevity of life with the pain and permanence of death

Helidon Xhixha: In Random Order – Florence

  • Giardino di Boboli
  • 27 June – 29 October 
Boboli Gardens presents an exhibition of monumental works by Albanian artist Helidon Xhixha, known for his abstract work with stainless steel polished to a mirror-like sheen.
These shiny works explore the theme of chaos and order – so prevalent in nature and society. This hefty exhibition is a commanding presence within Boboli Gardens – but that’s not all: curators Eike Schmidt (Director of the Uffizi Gallery) and art critic Diego Giolitti have chosen to extend its reaches into the city of Florence as well. An exhibition on chaos overspilling its boundaries? Meta.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Magic Cosmos: the Restored Adoration of the Magi – Florence

  • Uffizi
  • 28 March – 24 September 2017
Leonardo da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi has returned to the Uffizi after six years of restoration work. Visit the Uffizi and celebrate this unfinished masterpiece from the original Renaissance man.

Da Vinci’s largest panel painting – more than 2m x 2m, Adoration of the Magi is enriched by the recent extensive restoration. Not only is it popping with unexpected colors and greater clarity of subject, the restoration has also revealed new iconographic significance. Further enhancing the experience, it’ll be displayed alongside Filippino Lippi’s 1496 version of the same subject.

BESTIALE! Animal Film Stars – Turin

  • Mole Antonelliana & National Cinema Museum
  • 14 June – 8 January

Using photos, memorabilia, and animatronic dialogue, this exhibition at Turin’s National Cinema Museum explores two main questions: what’s the relationship between the animal and the onscreen character? And do animals ‘act’?

From Rin Tin Tin and Lassie to Clyde the orangutan (Clint Eastwood’s co-star in Every Which Way but Loose), animals have often been key players in movies. And it doesn’t stop there: every western has plenty of horses. But expand your idea even further and you get the shark from Jaws, the ape from King Kong, and of course: Babe, Pig in the City.

Hadassa Goldvicht: The House of Life – Venice

  • Querini Stampalia Foundation
  • 9 May – 26 November 2017
This expansive exhibit follows 86-year-old Aldo Izzo, former merchant marine and now keeper of the Jewish cemetery in Venice. Artist Hadassa Goldvicht examines and explores the fascinating life, and present occupation of this compelling figure to explore the very process of artistic creation.

Using fragments of conversation and excerpts from Izzo’s captain’s logbooks, Goldvicht’s multi-channel video installation succeeds in illuminating his subject in a way both intimate and instructive. Through Izzo a story of life and death, work and passion, and Venice’s shifting fortunes emerges.

La Bellezza Ferita – Earth Heart Art Quake – Siena

  • Cathedral of Siena and Santa Maria della Scala
  • 23 December 2016 – 29 October 2017

A 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck Norcia October 2016, killing hundreds and destroying buildings of irreplaceable cultural value. From the wreckage, emergency services salvaged what artwork they could. This exhibition displays, for the first time since the quake, masterpieces from the churches and sanctuaries of the region.

In the Crypt of Santa Maria de la Scala in Siena, these priceless artifacts and art are being shown alongside video and photos from the firefighters, other emergency services, and photojournalists who worked in the aftermath of the tragedy to help the wounded and salvage the artworks.

Have these Italian art exhibitions got you hungry for more culture?

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Ryan Millar

Ryan Millar

Canadian content creator Ryan wrote his first blog post in 2005 and has never looked back. He's the head of content department at Tiqets - which is perfect as his two favorite things are adventure and words.
Ryan Millar

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