Winter in Italy is not only a great time to hit the ski slopes in Cortina or cozy up to a frothy cappuccino, but also to warm up to some cool cultural happenings. Go for the unconventional in Italy and you’ll almost always be richly rewarded: case in point, the show L’Italia e gli italiani, which is Italy and the Italians as seen by Magnum photographers, at the Palazzo Reale in Turin through February 26. For this unique one-off to mark 150 years of national unity, the famous photo agency dispatched nine of its top photographers to capture the best of Italy in their lenses over six months, resulting in 300 remarkable photos you can’t find anywhere else.
Culture goes pop! up north in Aosta, where the spotlight shines on Andy Warhol: The show Andy Warhol: From Appearance to Transcendence features 80 of Warhol’s works from the time span of 1957 to 1987. Icons of those decades, from Mao to Marilyn Monroe (who, by the way, has a street named for her in Bologna!) and Mick Jagger to Liza Minnelli, come alive in the pop master’s silkscreen prints and multiple portraits which will be on display at Aosta’s Centro Saint-Bénin through March 11. For more iconic imagery, check out the Robert Mapplethorpe show at Milan’s Fondazione Forma, which runs through April 9.
From contemporary to classic: dodge that unexpected snow in Rome by ducking into the city’s Borghese Gallery, where visitors can see 60 of the 695 artworks that Camillo Borghese sold off to Napoleon (hurry, because after April 9, Paris takes them back). Or, dodge the cold Rome altogether by packing it up for Palermo, where that great Sicilian city’s Reale Albergo dei Poveri has the Le Avanguardie Russe exhibition, with 60 paintings that collectively illustrate the bridge between the Russian avant-guard of the early 20th century and the West. That show runs through March 20. If you’re in Palermo between February 21 and February 29, consider taking in a performance of La Traviata at the Teatro Massimo, completed in 1897, refurbished in 1997 and quite simply one of the most stunningly beautiful opera houses in Europe.
Culture goes operatic in Naples, too, with the new Museum and Archive of the Teatro San Carlo, or MeMus. The museum’s opening show is Arte all’Opera, Opera ad Arte, which goes backstage at the Teatro di San Carlo, Napoli’s famous opera house inaugurated in 1737, to showcase the artistry of more than 60 operas. The show runs through March 30.
And from Turin’s Palazzo Reale with the Magnum show to Genoa’s Palazzo Ducale, where the show Race: Alla conquista del Polo Sud evokes the rival races of Norway’s Roald Amundsen and Britain’s Robert Falcon to the South Pole a century ago. That exhibit runs through March 18.
If cold temperatures and shows about Antarctica don’t make you shiver too much, consider strapping on the ice skates and experiencing Venice in winter like a local. Gondola rides are fun regardless of season, but through February 21 you can dash across the open-air ice skating rink that’s been placed in the Campo San Polo. With plenty of gourmet food and wine stands set up around it so you can warm up right after, just like a Venetian.
Do you want to suggest another event that will be held in Italy this February? Leave a comment below…