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Italy has long been a favourite destination for art lovers who are drawn to the Renaissance delights of Florence, the hilltop towns of Tuscany, the ancient Roman ruins of Rome and the Byzantine mosaics of Palermo, amongst many other delights. This summer some of us at Gurr Johns are heading to the country for a holiday, which got us talking about our favourite spots.  Here we offer a few of our top tips for summer exhibitions: 

Riding Through Time. The Art of horse riding from Antiquity to the Middle Ages is a small exhibition in Florence which focuses on the age-old bond between man and horse with 100 objects spanning over 2000 years of history.  On public display for the first time is the Populonia Gig, an extremely rare example of an Etruscan carriage made of wood, iron and bronze and dating back to the early 5thcentury BC. From daily life and children’s games to war and religious ritual, the exhibition illustrates how horses have been at the side of man for 1000s of years.It is on show at the Limonaia, Boboli Gardens, Florence until 14 October.

– The Galleria di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in San Gimignano is showing MAN RAY: Wonderful Visions until 7 October with 100 works by one of the most important photographers of the 20thcentury.  A tireless experimenter, this exhibition allows us to witness the development of the artist’s style and technique through a series of enigmatic works. According to the organisers, “what unites in a single creative gesture is the gaze, the one that transforms everything into ‘wonderful visions’”.

– Perspective and its accurate representation in art occupied many artists of the Italian Renaissance, but none more so than Piero della Francesca (1416-1492).  One of his most famous works, the Resurrection (1465), constructed with meticulous linear perspective, has recently been restored and stars in Piero della Francesca: La seduzione della prospettiva at the Museo Civico in Sansepolcro until 6 January 2019.

– If you are heading to Rome, make sure you visit the Chiostro delBramante where you can marvel at both the architecture of the beautiful cloister as well as Turner. Works From Tate. The collection of landscape watercolours on show reflect the words of JMW Turner when he said, “indistinctiveness is my forte” and are beautiful depictions of light, tone and colour.  On show until 26 August.

– Palermo, Sicity’s historic capital city is the Italian Capital of Culture this year and it’s also currently hosting the 12thedition of Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art.  Every two years the event moves to a new city where it explores the prevailing historical and cultural identity of its temporary home, culminating in an exhibition featuring the work of both local and international artists, this year united by the theme, “The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence.” (on show at 15 different venues throughout the city until 4 November).  And finally, if you’re in Palermo, don’t miss one of our favourite works, Antonello di Messina’s mesmerising Virgin Annunciate at the Palazzo Abatellis.