In 2010, Farm Cultural Park founders Andrea Bartoli and Florinda Saieva moved their family from Paris to Favara, one the most impoverished towns in southern Sicily. Shortly after they arrived, a building collapsed in the town center, killing two sisters. Out of a desire to stop the marginalization and deterioration of their adopted home, they decided to create something transformative. Bartoli and Saieva bought several empty dwellings in the semi-abandoned center of town, saving them from a demolition order.
The maze of stone houses surrounded by alleys, central square and even a small castle was the perfect setting for an art marketplace. The goal was to present art in a way that could be enjoyed and appreciated by anyone, from locals who had never left the town to worldly experts.
The infusion of art into daily life has given spirit to a rejuvenation. Farm Cultural Park now occupies the entire historic center of Favara. Visitors explore entwined structures ranging from galleries to shops and cafes. An architectural school for children recently opened. Building exteriors are canvases for paintings and sculptures by noted artists. Tourists from all over the world now visit this once-forgotten town, known more for unemployment than culture.
Unlike many cultural projects that rely on government funding, Farm Cultural Park arose organically. Through networking and word of mouth, Farm Cultural Park has managed to attract some of the best artists in Italy, and the world, to exhibit their work in a small, out-of-the-way town.