Sunday, 24 August 2014

Not the normal tourist attraction

We bought a guidebook with us that has pointed us towards some less touristy attractions.

Florence and Tuscany with Kids took us to Dreamwoods.

Finding the place was a challenge. The satnav rejected all address information we had so we relied on Google maps (thank goodness for Three's All You Can Eat Data). Some website somewhere warned of the gravel road but it didn't mention the hairpin bends and the possible state of the roads after yesterday's torrential thunderstorms.

We found it eventually and first impressions were a bit uninspiring. There didn't seem to be anyone around so we just started looking around.

A gentleman in his early sixties (perhaps) appeared. His name was Deva Manfredo and he explained that he was the artist responsible. He produced a map and suggested we might want to give him €20. He explained his art doesn't manipulate materials other than balancing items that he finds (mainly stones) upon one another.

We started wandering around this unusual sculpture park in the woods. The horseflies were a complete pain (avoid visiting in August and September or wear strong insect repellent) but the art was amazing. There were over 200 pieces of art scattered along a complex maze of paths in a wood near a water lily pond and meadow.

Talking to the artist I think he started living at the neighbouring commune but now lives in a local village. We didn't get to how he moved from Germany to Tuscany but I imagine "the sixties" might have had a part to play. He doesn't see much traffic and was delighted to have been mentioned in a guidebook. We had to retrieve the Kindle from the car to prove he'd made it into print.

He works with stones and stuff he acquires whether it's marble factory waste, driftwood or discarded electrical items.

His work is diverse, beautiful, strange, and fascinating. He has a small shed that serves as a shop where you can buy small take away examples of his art (where he has used glue) and calendars and postcards showing his work.

Here are some pictures.

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