There comes a time in every art enthusiast’s life when you just need to trade in the “white cube” air conditioned gallery experience and trek through the buggy grass under the blazing Tuscan sun to uncover modern art.

If you’re in the mood for a light challenge that’s not too far from home, you’re in luck. Welcome to the colorful world of Enzo Pazzagli (via S. Andrea a Rovezzano 5), located just east of the Firenze Rovezzano train stop. This is a contemporary sculpture park that few seem to talk about – a hidden gem waiting to be discovered in the outskirts of the city among the train tracks, suburban homes and rustling Arno River.

Contemporary Sculpture Park Florence Italy

Entering the Enzo Pazzagli Art Park for the first time is a little like falling into the looking-glass; the backyard style park is quirky and bizarre with an enchanting intimacy.

Upon entrance by the towering gates you’re not provided with a cumbersome guidebook to depend on, you aren’t coldly stalked by museum attendants who glare at you from the corners of enclosed rooms and you certainly don’t need to show a ticket. A cat may sprint through the grass or a dog may be watching you from a window in the adjacent neighborhood, and the silence raises attention to an eerie sense of abandonment.

Contemporary Sculpture Park Florence Italy

After you’ve stepped inside, nothing stands between you and a forest of over 200 contemporary sculptures that stretch far into the property. Colors and shapes dance with the sunlight in a whirlwind of orderly chaos. There’s no correct way to explore this space; the boundaries aren’t always clear, so you can dive in to any part and personally choreograph your tour through the loose maze of cypress trees and sculpture arrangements.

Once a “waste field,” the area was reclaimed by Pazzagli’s imagination in 2001. When Pazzagli began planning the construction of the park, he was already a reputable artist. Critics and collectors have called Pazzagli “a master in the school of sheet metal art.” Most of the sculptures feature his characteristic colored Plexiglas and reflective hues of gold on steel. The park also features a variety of permanent and temporary works of other artists that add more dimension to the park’s whimsical spirit. As a whole, the park seamlessly meshes art and nature while echoing an impression of the mix of real characters living in the nearby modern Renaissance city.

Contemporary Sculpture Park Florence Italy

Inside the entrance of the park, a rustic shelter houses awards and merits received by Enzo Pazzagli himself, along with some of his smaller sculptures and signature paintings displayed across wooden walls. A weathered guest book reads signatures of past visitors while empty white plastic chairs surround cluttered tables, inviting you to grab a seat. There’s a theatrical interplay of mystery, realism and boldness that permeates this humble open air museum.

Let an experience with the Enzo Pazzagli Art Park redefine your perception of contemporary art.

Jenna Millemaci