Florence is famous for Renaissance art, and around town you find it on every corner. Statues, museums, fountains that remind you you’re in the place where the Renaissance was born. But what if you’re into Contemporary Art? Here you’ll find the top Museums and Galleries to enjoy contemporary and modern art in Florence.

Contemporary and Modern Art in Florence

Palazzo Strozzi

Anyone interested in contemporary art in Florence should check what’s on at Palazzo Strozzi. This handsome palace hosts the top exhibitions of international artists throughout the year. Dating back to the15th century, this wonderful light-filled space ensure a perfect interaction between architecture and artworks. And between the past and the present. In latest year names such as Ai Weiwei, Marina Abramovic, Eliasson have brought their creations here, in what has became a point of reference for anyone passionate about art.

Where is it? Palazzo Strozzi is in Piazza Strozzi , a few steps from Piazza della Repubblica with its historic cafes and shopping mecca Via Tornabuoni.

Palazzo Strozzi, the courtyard – image by lovefromtuscany

Museo Marino Marini

We have a soft spot for this amazing venue in Florence historic centre. A fascinating museum dedicated to Pistoia-born sculptor Marino Marini (1901-1980). Marini’s work was influenced by Etruscan and northern European sculptures, and he’s famous for his equestrian statues and pomonas (female nudes). Peggy Guggenheim placed one of his horseman stands outside the Guggenheim museum in Venice. The venue is the former church of San Pancrazio, that was later converted in a factory. The Marini Museum deserves a visit not only for the special quality of the artworks (we find the horses and riders especially moving), but for the masterful way his art is displayed. Don’t miss it!

Where is it? Museo Marino Marini is hidden in the secluded Piazza San Pancrazio, not far from Piazza Santa Maria Novella.

contemporary art in florence
Marino Marini Museum, Florence – image by lovefromtuscany

Museo Novecento – Modern and Contemporary Art in Florence

As the name suggests, the Museo Novecento is dedicated to 20th Italian art. Most of the works are from the first half of the 20th century, with names such as Giorgio De Chirico, Filippo De Pisis, Gino Severini, Giorgio Morandi, Mario Mafai, Renato Guttuso amongst others. The museum hosts temporary exhibits and organises guided tours (you can book on the official site). The Museo Novecento organises meetings, screenings and concerts conceived as moments of critical study on the 20th century.

Where is it? The Museo Novecento is in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, in an historic building.

Center for Contemporary Art Pecci in Prato

If you love contemporary art, then you’ll definitely enjoy a short day trip to Prato to visit the Pecci Museum. A striking edifice, designed by rationalist architect Gamberini, the Center for Contemporary Art Luigi Pecci opened in 1988 with the aim of presenting, collecting and supporting research in visual and performing arts, cinema, music, architecture, design and fashion.

They organise art exhibitions, events and educational initiatives. The collection has over 1000 artworks that map artistic trends from the 1960s to the present. You can spend half a day exploring the 3 thousand square meters of exhibition space, plus a cinema, a bookshop and a restaurant.

Where is it? Pecci is on the outskirts of Prato’s historic centre. You can get from Florence to Prato by train and bus.

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Smaller Venues for Modern and Contemporary Art in Florence

MAD, or Murate Art District, has exhibitions, performances and workshops focusing on contemporary themes and artistic languages. You find it near Sant’Ambrogio Market.

The Manifattura Tabacci in the area of the Cascine Park aims at reinventing a space that was once dedicated to a tobacco factory. Like in many cities, ex industrial complex take on a new life, with space for co-woking, cultural activities and art installations.

Villa Bardini – in a scenic setting up on the hills on the Oltrarno – sometimes organises small art or photography exhibitions. Take the opportunity for a scenic walk in the Bardini Garden, with an amazing view of the city.

Florence hidden gems
Florence view from Bardini Villa

Private Art Galleries

Florence has a number of small private art galleries dedicated to contemporary art and emerging international artists. The city attracts creatives from all over the world, and offers a long-lived artistic tradition and inspiration. Side by side with antique shops, shops run by artist that sell their designs, in the historic centre you find art galleries like Galleria 360 (Borgo Ognissanti), Firenze Art Gallery (near San Frediano), Tornabuoni Arte, and Iguarnieri ArtGallery Studio that offers also laboratories.

Walking around Florence, you’ll notice many street signs personalised by French artist Clet, who has his own studio in via dell’Olmo.

Contemporary Art – Statues around Florence

Florence has also become a setting for art installations, sometimes in Piazza Signoria, PIazza Pitti or San Lorenzo Church. In Boboli Gardens you find the Tindaro Screpolato, a huge bronze face by Igor Mitoraj, that reflects on fragility and interacts with the verdant surrounding of the garden.

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contemporary art in florence
“Tindaro screpolato” in Boboli Gardens – image by lovefromtuscany

When you visit the Rose Garden, a beautiful space near Piazzale Michelangelo that offers views over the city, you can see works by Jean-Michel Folon, author of the poetic Uomo Della Pioggia, with an umbrella made of water, the fountain that welcomes the visitor as he enters Florence from the Lungarno Aldo Moro.

Nearby Florence’s airport Peretola, is a beloved contemporary statue of a plumpy bird by Botero. Meanwhile, on a roundabout in front of the Porta Romana (to the south of the city), is the colossal sculpture Dietrofront by the Piemontese sculptor Michelangelo Pistoletto.

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