Villa Bardini and Forte di Belvedere

Off from the standard tourist track around the sites of Florence, I took my parents to Villa Bardini, once home to Stefano Bardini a Florentine art collector, for the spectacular views of the city and an exhibition or two.

Museo Capucci

Florence is home to the Roberto Capucci Foundation, which is aimed at preserving and promoting Capucci and his work, as well as encouraging new ideas of style, design and top-quality craftsmanship in the Italian and international fashion worlds.

The Italian fashion designer’s work is portrayed in the Capucci Museum, located in Villa Bardini. The work was inaugurated in 2007 in a temporary exhibition, but was so successful the show transformed into a permanent exhibition.

Considered one of the modern founders of the Italian fashion industry, Roberto Capucci’s eclectic style is a mix of colours, materials, shapes, textures and ideas. Capucci was more than just a fashion designer, he was an architect, a visionary and above all, an artist.

Born in Rome, he opened his first couture studio, though he has always been closely associated with Florence. His first great success occurred along the river Arno, where he held his debut fashion show in 1951 in Palazzo Pitti’s ‘Sala Bianca.’

Variations on a creative theme: swirls and curls, plissè and geometric lines, are a testament to Capucci’s unique style. Showcasing 23 garments and their sketches, the show illustrates the designer’s extravagant, sculptural garments that are inspired by art, geometry and nature.

His creations in experimenting with the inclusion of decorative, rigid and structural elements, in a mix of rich and poor materials, precious fabrics, stones and straw allowed him access to show at prestigious events in Paris, Rome and New York. Christian Dior even recognized him as “the best Italian fashion designer.”

Forte di Belvedere

We walked a short way to the Forte di Belvedere, an open-air museum and a historical and artistic heritage site. Its original functions were to act as the defensive fortress and expression of temporal power. Overlooking Florence, a city that typifies an urban ideal, this site offers a place in which to consider how architecture serves to shelter, protect and dominate people and space.

The body postures depict the contemplative to the supplicant, from the mourning to the deferential, from the position of a man who awaits an order to the dreamer. The jumbled pole of the bodies convey the specific gravity of a living human body, they reflect the shadow side of any idea of human progress, confronting the viewer with an image redolent of the conflict of the past century.

The concept behind the exhibition is to open up the Forte through sculptural acupuncture: the works are widely dispersed to catalyse the inherent masses, constrictions and panoramas that the site affords. The artist Antony Gormley wanted “to encourage the viewer to think again about who they  are and how they negotiate the spaces around them.”

More to come on Florence soon!

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