Who was Fortunato Depero?

On the trail of fine art in elegant museums and beautiful al fresco settings

Have you ever examined a Campari Soda bottle? Its elegant conical shape and textured surface have stayed the same since the 1930s. You might not know it, but that bottle is a little masterpiece designed by Trentino artist Fortunato Depero.

With their strict geometries and vibrant colours, his surprising, imaginative creations have made him one of the most recognisable of the Futurist artists. You can admire them in many places in Trentino, especially in Rovereto, Depero’s home town for many years. The Modern and Contemporary Art Cultural Trail begins right here, before whisking you off to the banks of Lake Garda, up to the peaks of the Val di Fiemme, and finally to the Valsugana for an open-air art gallery where the works coexist with nature.

We set off from Rovereto on the trail of Depero (Stages A and B)

Where else could we start but the MART in Rovereto, one of Italy’s finest modern and contemporary art museums? You can recognise it from its iconic dome over the entrance, designed by starchitect Mario Botta. It’s well worth a photo before you go in.

Besides hosting major exhibitions, the MART also vaunts an enviable permanent collection. The prestigious names range from Francesco Hayez and Umberto Boccioni to Giorgio de Chirico and Emilio Vedova – and Fortunato Depero, of course. The contemporary-art section is especially good, with works by Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Ai Weiwei.

If the MART gives you a taster of Depero’s imaginative genius, you can fill your boots at the House of Futurist Art that bears his name, in Rovereto town centre. Have a walk around and marvel at his weird, wonderful, colourful creations. From drawings and paintings to tapestries, design objects and collages – not to mention posters and even toys – the poetic soul of a remarkable artist is laid out for all to see.

A pause at Lake Garda before heading back to town (Stages C and D)

The next leg of our Cultural Trail brings us to the lakeside town of Riva del Garda, a half-hour drive from Rovereto. Riva’s mediaeval castle guards the MAG – the Alto Garda museum. Art, archaeology and history intermingle in a tour of its permanent collections, temporary exhibitions and the experiential workshop INvento for children and families.

After refreshments on the Riva del Garda waterfront, it’s time to make for Trento.

If this is your first visit, orient yourself with an easy stroll through the old centre to gaze at the gorgeous frescoes adorning the façades of the aristocratic Renaissance mansions. One of them is home to the Trento municipal gallery, a contemporary-art centre with its finger on the international pulse, thanks to a tempting programme of special shows about emerging artists.

A glorious finale among the mountains and woods (stages E and F)

Take a coffee break in a bar on Trento’s Piazza del Duomo, before diving into the mountains of the Val di Fiemme. Its stupendous scenery has inspired many a Trentino painter. And our next port of call is the Contemporary Art Museum in Cavalese, which hosts exhibitions and cultural events that discuss the latest artistic visions of the Alpine landscape.

Our Modern and Contemporary Art Cultural Trail ends in a unique place where art and nature come together: Arte Sella. Here in the Valsugana, the rocks and branches, the leaves and earth and tree trunks become raw materials for site-specific art, a collection of works that create a great gallery under the Trentino skies.

Published on 27/11/2021