Giardino Fantastico (Fantastic Garden)Fiorenzo Pilia (b. 1933)
55 Via Monastir, San Sperate, Sardinia, 09026, Italy
Located about a kilometer (less than a mile) outside the community of San Sperate, the site can be visited if its owner is present
About the Artist/Site
In 1993 Fiorenzo Pilia began decorating an orchard he owned outside the Sardinian village of San Sperate. Prior to beginning his constructions he had been a farmer; he had little formal education and no artistic training at all.
Pilia’s specialty is life-sized sculptures; the main feature of his garden is a reclining female, some 15 meters (almost 49 feet) long, constructed on a base of chicken-wire, covered with a mixture of foam and glue, and then smoothed and painted. It took him some four years to complete this creation, which represents the mystery of life. One can enter the woman’s body through a door between the legs; the interior displays internal organs made from wire and cable, and also demonstrates the growth of a baby inside the womb.
Like so many other self-taught artists, Pilia uses recycled material, but a special feature of his work is his use of contemporary materials such as resin, cable waste, and scraps from modern production processes. The garden has a variety of other large constructions in addition to the reclining female, including a large figure made from gauze that towers above the bushes of the garden, and a wooden tower that represents one of the New York Twin Towers during the 9/11 attack, created shortly after 2001. There is also a crocodile whose tail is in the form of a hand.
Pilia's smaller constructs are full of surprises. There is a large sculpture of a rooster with a door in its belly that, when opened, reveals a refrigerator. Another sculpture depicts a man with a cap on top of a cone-like pedestal; this figure, too, has a door, this one leading to the bathroom.
Pilia, who at the time of this writing (June 2013) is in his early eighties, works daily making new sculptures for his garden. Located about a kilometer (less than a mile) outside the community of San Sperate, the site can be visited if its owner is present. He is happy to show visitors around, explaining his works in Italian (regardless whether the visitor understands the language or not).
~Henk van Es
Map & Site Information
55 Via Monastir
San Sperate, Sardinia, 09026 it
Latitude/Longitude: 39.3610926 / 9.0046486
Castellammare del Golfo, Sicilia