Condé Nast Traveller Middle East
COLOURING AND COOKING THE WORLD
While Tuscany, undoubtedly, is the heart of Belmond and Galleria Continua’s Mitico collaboration, the gallery’s roots between the two Tuscan properties, the collaboration can also be experienced in two of Belmond’s other iconic Italian properties. Almost caught adrift between Europe and Africa, the sun-baked island of Sicily has lured guests with its sparkling bays, lemon-scented air, mountainous hinterlands and timeworn cities like Palermo and Catania. Belmond’s Grand Hotel Timeo is amongst the most beloved and revered establishments on the island, perched in the mountains of Taormina overlooking the cerulean blue bay and Mount Etna, and the third location for the Mitico collaboration – ‘Colouring the World’.
The collaboration saw Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou create his Les Routes du Paradis (paths to happiness), a coloured path from the hotel’s grand entrance through six acres of property gardens to the magnificent third-century Greek Theatre. Four crystal sculptures entitled Totem Cristal dot the path: human-sized totems each uniquely dressed and embodying creolisation – the mixing together of different people and cultures. The project perfectly encapsulates Sicily, a colonial crossroads conquered by Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Normans. “Sicily is a mythical place for a mythical project,” explains Tayou. “I told myself I would do a triumph of colours to set the energies free and celebrate beauty again. How is it that sometimes it all seems so dark around us? We need to look inside our souls. That’s where the light is, there is harmony there.”
Galleria Continua and Belmond’s final Mitico installation lies in the ancient floating city of Venice, across the lagoon at the iconic Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel. Here, the theme pays homage to one of Italy’s greatest loves, cooking. Marked by the 59th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, Cipriani’s Mitico opened in the Casanova Gardens Giudecca island hotel and is the work of Indian artist Subodh Gupta. Echoing his work displayed in San Gimignano, Gupta crafted his installation using thousands of discarded cooking pots, pans and utensils. The piece itself named Cooking the World, inside is a kitchen, where Gupta himself has cooked his family recipes and hosted events.
Belmond and Galleria Continua’s thought-provoking installations are available to view until November when the sun begins to fade and winter draws in across Italy’s rolling patchwork landscape. But for now, this merging of modern art, culture and the zeitgeist is very much alive, and with it, giving a renewed sense of life to these timeless and beautiful Italian escapes.