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Discovering Mart Rovereto: A Journey through Contemporary Art

by Paola Bertoni
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The Mart, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rovereto, is one of the most important museums in Europe. It holds about 20,000 works of art, including paintings, drawings and sculptures. The museum focus on the avant-garde movements of the 20th century. At Mart, you can admire futurist and metaphysical masterpieces by Giorgio Morandi, Giorgio de Chirico, Carlo Carrà and Fortunato Depero.

What’s on at the Rovereto Art Museum

The MART, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, was founded in 1987 by the Province of Trento. It has four locations: in Rovereto, there are the Mart Rovereto and the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero, while in Trento the Galleria Civica and Palazzo delle Albere. The most important venue is undoubtedly the Mart Rovereto, housed in a modern building inspired by classical forms.

Galleries of Mart Rovereto
Galleries of Mart Rovereto

The architecture of the Rovereto Mart

The Mart building in Rovereto, designed by Mario Botta and Giulio Andreolli, is inspired by classical models and aspires to become a contemporary agora. The structure has an external square surmounted by a large steel and Plexiglas dome reminiscent of the Pantheon. The museum has four floors, with additional spaces for temporary exhibitions, educational activities and offices.

The dome in the square outside the Mart in Rovereto
The dome in the square outside the Mart in Rovereto

The Mart’s permanent collection

The Mart’s collections derive from the public collections of Trento and Rovereto. Contributions from private collectors and foundations enriched it over time. Today, it comprises about 20,000 works spanning two centuries of history.

The museum spaces offer a tour of contemporary art, from the movements of Futurism to the Italian Novecento, Abstractionism to Informalism, Arte Povera to Transavantgarde, and more recent artistic research. In particular, the permanent collection shows how these artistic currents developed in Italy, with works on display in rotation.

People at the Mart Rovereto
People at the Mart Rovereto

The Futurism

For its incredible collection, with over 3,000 works by Fortunato Depero and artists such as Balla, Boccioni, Prampolini, Russolo and Severini, the Mart is an international excellence in studying Futurism. The Mart’s collections focus mainly on the perspective of Balla and Depero, which extends the Futurist aesthetic from art to everyday life.

At the Mart, you can discover how Futurism embraces a total renewal of the human environment. Among the most curious exhibits, you can see Renato Bertelli’s sculpture ‘Profilo continuo di Mussolini’ (Continuous Profile of Mussolini) from 1933, Luigi Russolo’s ‘Intonarumori’, innovative instruments to produce new sounds, and some examples of Aeropainting, born from the experience of flying in an aeroplane.

Continuous Profile of Mussolini, Renato Bertelli
Continuous Profile of Mussolini, Renato Bertelli

The ongoing exhibitions at the Mart

The Mart hosts frequent temporary exhibitions in its four locations. Sometimes thanks to works from donations, new acquisitions and long-term deposits that have yet to find a home in the museum’s spaces. During my visit, I discovered contemporary Chinese painting in the exhibition ‘Global Painting: The New Chinese Painting’. This exhibit was focused on globalisation and the continuous social and economic changes we are experiencing.

In contrast, the exhibition ‘Dürer Mater et Melancholia’ started with some masterpieces by Albrecht Dürer to investigate motherhood and melancholia, two universal themes that have always fascinated philosophers and artists. The tour included some 70 works by great artists from different periods. Including Umberto Boccioni, Felice Casorati, Giorgio de Chirico, Lucio Fontana, Giorgio Morandi, Adolfo Wildt, and others.

I also saw works by Luca Scacchi Gracco, an artist and adventurer in Africa and the Middle East. He was a painter and an expert of popular art. As art dealer, he introduced several European artists to Italy, including Francis Bacon, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, George Groz, Emil Nolde and Otto Dix.

Painting from the exhibition Global Painting: The New Chinese Painting at Mart in Rovereto
Painting from the exhibition Global Painting: The New Chinese Painting at Mart in Rovereto

Mart with children: activities for the little ones

The Mart offers numerous opportunities for families with children, such as creative workshops, events and tours designed especially for younger visitors. You can see the activities on the Mart’s website, which usually have affordable prices for all families.

Having visited the museum with my son, I particularly enjoyed the Baby Mart area. It is a well-equipped space where children can stop to rest, play or colour. Visiting an art museum with children takes work, and having a space to stop mid-visit is very pleasant for families.

Baby Mart children's area of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto
Baby Mart children’s area of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto

Practical information for visiting the Mart in Rovereto

To visit the Mart museums in Trento and Rovereto, you can buy a convenient bundle ticket for € 15. There are reductions and discounts for families. The Mart Rovereto is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00. On Friday, it closes at 21:00. When planning your visit, check the dates of temporary exhibitions as they generally last only a few months.

The Mart is located a short distance from the centre of Rovereto. You can reach the museum in about 20 minutes on foot from the railway station, but consider that the road is quite uphill. Alternatively, you can get around by car, as I did. There are covered parking and roadside parking, which you must pay for.

Mart – Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto
(Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto)
Corso Bettini, 43
38068 Rovereto

Permanent collection at Mart Rovereto
Permanent collection at Mart Rovereto

Where to stay in Rovereto

Rovereto is a small city near Trento. Hotel Leon d’Oro is an excellent accommodation with an outdoor pool and free parking, just a 2-minute walk from the train station and near the Mart. Another option is Hotel Rovereto, a boutique hotel in the historic centre of Rovereto with stylish furniture and paintings by famous local artists in the public areas. If you’re on a budget, Ostello Città di Rovereto offers dormitories, private rooms, and vouchers for discounted visits to local museums.

Visiting the Mart in Rovereto is a unique experience, a journey through two centuries of art, with a unique look at Futurism. With works by renowned artists and splendid temporary exhibitions, the Mart is one of the must-see attractions in Rovereto. Please comment if you already know it or if this article has inspired you to visit it.

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