Italy Roundtable: Where can you see contemporary art in Italy?

While I don’t know what my Roundtable colleagues will write about, I think with a theme such MODERN I am not the only one talking about art.

It’s easy to forget, however, that Italy also has a lot of outstanding modern art. There are so many pieces of historical and ancient artworks displayed throughout Italy. A visit to a contemporary art gallery can be a great way to escape the crowds, and it can offer a wonderful cultural experience. Who doesn’t like that?

Italy is synonymous for history. To see the remains of an ancient civilization, we visit Rome and Naples. Festivals like the are celebrated. They have been going on for centuries. To marvel at the work of great masters, we visit Florence’s museums. Their sculptures and paintings remain remarkable hundreds of centuries later.

There’s also a modern side to Italy. This includes some outstanding contemporary art galleries. These are just a handful of places where you can find contemporary and modern art in Italy.

Sidebar: A number of talented street artists are at work in cities across Italy. They create everything from eye-catching murals along the sides of buildings to smart edits on Italian signs. These are all modern art. Keep your eyes open as you travel through Italian cities. It’s a different topic altogether, but street art in Italy is some of the most fascinating art you’ll see anywhere.

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Although I’m not an expert on modern art, Venice is a great place to visit if you are interested in contemporary and modern art. The Venice Biennale is the main reason. The Biennale festival is held every odd-numbered year from May to November. It attracts artists and art lovers all over the globe. There are many installations throughout the city. The image above is my favorite from the 2017 edition. They can be found in pavilions at the Biennale Gardens, as well as in churches and other venues.

However, if you are not visiting during Biennale years, then head straight to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Guggenheim, a long-term resident of Venice, decorated her Grand Canal villa with pieces by well-known, and sometimes married, artists. The villa was made available to the public after Guggenheim’s death in 1979. Since then, the collection has grown steadily.


The Triennale di Milano at the border of Parco Sempione was one of the most enjoyable surprises in Milan. Although I was skeptical about what I would get from a museum devoted to Italian design history, it turned out to be a fascinating experience. You can take a break at the cafe before you go to the next museum, which focuses on architecture and design.

The Museo del Novecento has a more traditional collection of contemporary art from Milan. “Novecento,” which means the 20th Century, is what this museum at Palazzo dell’Argengario in Milan shows. Bonus? Bonus?


MAXXI (the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo), Rome, is perhaps the most well-known modern art museum. However, the building itself and not the art inside is what I believe is the main attraction. The museum was designed by Zaha Hadid, a celebrated architect. It is now open and includes photography and architectural elements as well as 21st century art.

The Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Rom is Rome’s only contemporary gallery. MACRO has also space for working artists.


The Turin is home to the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea. Also known as GAM, it houses the oldest collection of Italian modern art. The museum was founded in the middle of the 1800s and now houses a staggering 4,500 pieces.


After spending time at the ‘ Must-See National Archaeological Museum go to the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina or MADRE. The museum of contemporary art was established in 2005. It quickly rose to be one of the most prestigious museums in Italy. MADRE has had to be shut down a few times despite its outstanding reputation. This is why you should visit them and show your support.

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