Right in the heart of the Italian peninsula, hidden in the thick vegetation of the gorge of the River Treja, you will find a portal to another dimension for you to experience. Opera Bosco is a museum of art in nature, a tireless project that has involved contemporary artists from different parts of the world and educational institutions for more than 20 years.
For a more detailed introduction to this revolutionary artistic-philosophical project, I report the words of one of the founders, Belgian artist Anne Demijttenaere. Anne, together with Costantino Morosin, a contemporary Italian artist, started creating art in the forest near Calcata in the early ’90s.
Opera Bosco, a museum of art in nature | by Anne Demijttenaere, land art artist
“Opera Bosco is an open-air contemporary art itinerary on two hectares of woodland in the gorge of the Treja Valley in Calcata in the province of Viterbo. It is a museum, an experimental laboratory of art in nature that distinguishes itself from other places that host outdoor works of art, for its choice to create works exclusively with natural materials created by the forest. Walking along the paths of Opera Bosco also means penetrating the heart of the gorge of the Treja valley and immerse yourself in the abundant bio-diversity that reminds us of tropical forests. It also means crossing landscapes and rocks that witness the millennial history of the anthropization of this valley…”
Opera Bosco is an example of the implementation of the symbiosis between human activity and nature. It is also a metaphor for an eco-compatible approach for all the productive activities of an ecologically oriented society…”
Some works of the museum of art in nature “Opera Bosco”
Here are some of the works that you can enjoy during your visit to Opera Bosco. All the photos were taken by Jonas Clementoni.
About the anthropization of the Treja Valley in central Italy
In the territory of Opera Bosco, the artists have discovered a prehistoric cave and other more recent caves of pre-Roman times, when the area was inhabited by the Faliscans and the Etruscans.
The museum is located in the region of central Italy that is commonly called “Tuscia” and corresponds to ancient Etruria. Tuscia extends between southern Tuscany and northern Lazio. Visiting Tuscia means having access to countless and extensive archaeological sites, often with free access, sometimes abandoned and overwhelmed by nature, which makes them even more mysterious and fascinating. They are necropolises, megalithic paths caved in the rock with techniques and for reasons unknown to us, and the ruins of ancient megalithic cities. Some of these sites are well known, such as the Necropolis of Cerveteri, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Others are underestimated, such as the “Vie Cave” and the Pyramid of Bomarzo.
Excellence of contemporary art in Italy
Opera Bosco has obtained many official recognitions, here are a few:
In 2007 Opera Bosco contributes to the definition of guidelines for the forest area of the Lazio Region.
It is a special mention of the Landscape Award of the Council of Europe from 2010 to 2015.
It participates in the 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture 2014 within the events promoted by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage realizing installations on the Certosa Island.
In 2015, together with 5 other artists, creates a monumental land art work on the Island of San Secondo in Venice.
What is art in nature?
The works of the open-air museum Opera Bosco can be reconnected to the artistic-philosophical current of “art in nature”, also known as “environmental art”. Art is created directly in the landscape by sculpting natural materials or creating structures in the landscape with natural materials. Some artists have exhibited their works created with natural materials in traditional galleries.
How to visit Opera Bosco
For the first visit to the open-air museum, the association “Opera Bosco” takes you on a guided tour that lasts about an hour and a half and costs €15 for adults. The curators will guide you through the works in the forest, illustrating them and answering all your questions. Visits happen on Sundays and festive days, from March to December. It is also possible to visit during the week, prior agreement with the curators, that you can reach via email at:
It is advisable to wear hiking shoes during the visit.
After the tour, which starts at 11:00 a.m., you can take advantage of the charming picnic area, shaded, to have a packed lunch that you have brought with you. Organic wine produced in the area is offered by Opera Bosco.
Places to see near Opera Bosco
Not far from the museum of art in nature lies Calcata, one of the most picturesque villages near Rome. Calcata, since the 70s, has become a hub for independent artists who retired there to create art away from the cities, considered doomed to industrialization and globalization. You can visit Opera Bosco in the morning and go to Calcata in the afternoon/evening to enjoy the view of the sunset over the green Treja valley.
Opera Bosco continues to demonstrate that it is possible to obtain everything we need for both practical and interior life with ethical means, in nature, in the landscape we have at our disposal. Abundance is a state of mind, it results from the way in which we explore the Earth and interact with all the living beings that it hosts.
If you loved this article about art in nature, you might love Unique Gardens in Italy as well.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about Opera Bosco, a museum of land art in central Italy.