Orto Aperto- Green Point

News updates & archives on previous and ongoing permaculture system design initiatives at the Siena Art Institute and our partners at the Siena School for Liberal Arts.

For more information:

Urban Gardening discussion with the City of Siena:

Giardino Tessile

Textile garden

Spring 2023:
Tending to our beehives

Fall 2022:

Many things are growing in our garden this fall!

Using #permaculture practices, our #sustainable garden is a resource for our students and community members, a meeting point for shared activities, and just a relaxing space to enjoy the beautiful nature that is all around our building!

Summer 2022:

Our faculty member Bernardo Giorgi has welcomed some fuzzy new guests to be part of our school’s community! They are already helping with cutting the grass and making sure scraps from the garden are not wasted!

Spring 2022:

Beautiful colors on a rainy morning in our garden. It’s been an unusually dry March, so our plants are revelling in the rain today!

Using #permaculture practices, our #sustainable garden is a resource for our students and community members, a meeting point for shared activities, and just a relaxing space to enjoy the beautiful nature that is all around our building!

For more info about our sustainability coursework, visit sienaschool.com/Academics/Sustainability

For more info about our garden, visit sienaart.org/Arte-in-Città/Orto-Aperto-Green-Point/

Winter 2022:

Although it’s been getting below freezing at night, our robust flowers are staying strong!

Fall 2021
Exploring the valley behind our school

A glimpse of the many plants in our garden:

Summer 2021

Spring 2021:

Spring has sprung in our garden! There are lots of flowers blooming and plants sprouting. We had a set-back with a repair needed for the acqueduct tube which passes beneath our garden and required digging a large hole in the plots near our garden entrance, but thankfully the repair seems to have been successful and we can now work on replanting that section. We are also working to set up a provisional amphitheater space alongside our garden, full of possibilities!

Winter 2021: Although the temps are getting below zero at night our sustainable garden is still thriving, with hearty plants and the help of our greenhouse and covering plant beds! Read more https://sienaart.blog/2021/01/13/sustainable-winter-garden-update/

November 2020 update:

There are lots of exciting developments in our garden, including new crops of winter vegetables, setting up a “greenhouse”, clearing and planting new spaces, and much more!

Here is a selection of some recent snapshots to give you a glimpse of some of the work underway: https://sienaart.blog/2020/11/13/exciting-developments-in-our-garden/

October 2020 update: Planting winter crops

We’ve been worknig under the guidance of our faculty member Bernardo Giorgi to plant winter crops in our garden following sustainable permaculture practices.  Our plants include leeks, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and more!  We’re very grateful to everyone who is lending a hand with this work, including our students, teachers, staff, and community members!

Link to post: https://sienaart.blog/2020/10/16/planting-winter-crops/

A bountiful harvest from our autumn garden. Check out our blog for a post about our fall 2020 students’ recent orientation to our garden with faculty member Bernardo Giorgi: https://sienaart.blog/2020/09/21/garden-orientation/#sustainability#permaculture#permacultura#siena#tuscany#toscana

Sept 2020:

Guided walk with Bernardo and students and resident artist of the Siena Art Institute, exploring contemporary interventions and green spaces within the city center. Stops include the overlook of the Orteo de’Pecci from the Valdimontone Contrada terrace and the Orto Tolomei which houses the “Bugs Hotel” created as part of the Siena Art Institute’s OrtAperto initiative in collaboration with the Tartuca Contrada.

Summer 2020

Spring 2020, Garden Updates

May 2020: A small group of our collaborators at the Siena Art Institute & Siena School for Liberal Arts joined Bernardo Giorgi to learn more about the expansion he is leading of the sustainable garden alongside our building and worked together to plant seeds in partnership with the Seed Vicious association producing and saving a wide variety of seeds.

February 2020: It is really exciting to see the flowers growing and the bees buzzing, thanks to the hard work of our instructor Bernardo Giorgi!

For more images and information: https://www.sienaart.org/News/Our-Spring-Garden-in-Bloom-/

Fall 2019-Spring 2020: Voci dal Vento Installation by Project Fellow John K Melvin

Project Fellow John K Melvin led the creation of an ephemeral collaborative installation, utilizing the biodegradable materials of bamboo, jute and rice paper.

Sept 2019: Il Punto Inauguration

A selection of snapshots from the Sept 29 Open Day of our new location, Il Punto | The Point, kicking off the Fall 2019 season! https://sienaart.blog/2019/10/01/snapshots-from-the-sept-29-open-day-of-il-punto-the-point/


May-June 2019 Community Workshops:

More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/2183709275273010/

A glimpse of our urban gardening workshop at the Siena Art Institute with Bernardo Giorgi, looking at approaches for container gardening, using recycled materials.

Spring 2019 Exhibit

Students, teachers, and resident artist Boaz Aharonovitch contributed to this End-of-Semester public exhibition. Heartfelt thanks to everyone for your participation! For more details: https://sienaart.blog/2019/05/11/snapshots-from-spring-2019-exhibit/

February 2019

Visiting the Fonte delle Monache

exploring the theme of “Places of Escape” we walked from the Siena Art Institute to the city gate of Porta San Marco, and then ended up in the “secret garden” of the Fonte delle Monache, a lush hillside with olive and fruit trees, and the ancient fountains created in the 13th-14th century for the Augustinian nuns who were cloistered in their convent, connected to the fountains by an underground tunnel!

For more info: http://www.enjoysiena.it/en/attrattore/Fonte-delle-Monache/

Link to blog post: https://sienaart.blog/2019/02/18/visiting-the-fonte-delle-monache/

Winter 2018-2019 Cantiere Patrimonio Exhibit

Featuring displays on our ongoing permaculture initiatives, alongside the work of our students, workshop participants, instructors, and resident artists.

Summer 2018 Community Garden initiatives

For more information on OrtAperto: 2018-2019 OrtAperto

Local news:



May 2018, Permaculture Community Workshop

An afternoon workshop exploring local soil at the Botanical Garden of Siena (Orto Botanico), on the occasion of the Festival of Scientific Museums (Festa dei Musei Scientifici)

October 2017: Workshop + Lab: Landscape and Participation

Young artists from the SienaArtInstitute participating in the “Paesaggio & Partecipazione” Workshop + Lab led by the organizations Culturing EU , AR Scape, and Galleria FuoriCampo, brainstorming for the revitalization of Siena’s urbangardens for cultural & artistic events.
#Toscanaincontemporanea2017 #RegioneToscana #Giovanisí

Morning brainstorming session at the Leocorno contrada:

Exploring the Valle di Follonica:

Afternoon brainstorming lab heading to the Giraffa contrada garden:

Link to blog post: https://sienaart.blog/2017/10/22/workshop-lab-landscape-and-participation/

October 2017: Visiting Siena’s Biblioteca Briganti and City Archives

Screen shot 2017-10-04 at 12.11.36 PM

We had the privilege to visit the Biblioteca Briganti & City Archives with participants in the Siena Art Institute‘s Art & Society course.  The Biblioteca Briganti is part of the museum complex of Santa Maria della Scala, and is a treasure trove of resources, including the amazing volumes of ancient maps, and many books related to Siena’s history, artists, and craftspeople. The City Archives contains centuries worth of records and artifacts related to Siena’s history, in a beautiful palazzo overlooking Piazza del Campo.  Their collection includes many one-of-a-kind antique maps of Siena, allowing us to trace the growth and changes of the cityscape over time.

May 2017:

More information:

Press: http://www.sienafree.it/monteroni-darbia/89903-al-via-il-terzo-corso-di-permacultura-nel-segno-della-sostenibilita

March 2017 Initiatives


For more info: https://sienaart.blog/2017/03/17/food-memory-artifice-starters-with-prof-peter-tagiuri-march-14th/


February 2017: Mapping “Points of Entry” Projects

To facilitate our brain-storming for our intro unit projects, we’ve mapped the locations of our Intro Unit “Points of Entry” projects, and key words related to each project response. For more info: https://sienaart.blog/2017/02/20/mapping-intro-unit-points-of-entry-projects/


Summer 2016

Summer 2016 Resident artist Lisa Corinne Davis

Exploring the territory of Siena, and finding inspiration in its structures, alternative mapping approaches through abstraction.

Spring 2016:

Fall 2015 Project Fellowship Artist Ellen Driscoll

Ellen Driscoll from Siena Art Institute on Vimeo.

Summer 2015: Elaine Tin Nyo, resident artist

Fall 2015: Collaborative Work in Siena & Florence

CityScape Landscape Dec 3

Exploring urban green spaces, cultural operators, and getting ready for our event hosted by Xenos December 3rd in Florence.

Exploring the Giardino Torrigiani in Florence:

Exploring the Orti Dipinti in Florence:

October 2015: Alternative Walking Activity: part of VERSO settimana di arte e architettura contemporanea

The Art & Society group led a walking activity open to the public, focusing on an exploration of green spaces within the city walls of Siena.  Despite some drizzly weather, we walked from the Siena Art Institute to the Orti di Tolomei to the Orto dei Pecci.  The walk was also shared through live video streaming to the exhibition space of VERSO within the museum of Santa Maria della Scala.

October 2015: Work on view at the collective exhibition “Verso”, Santa Maria della Scala Museum

Verso: Settimana di arte e architettura contemporanea

Collaborative project with students from the Art & Society course:  mobile point and alternative maps and guides, sharing different perspectives and paths through the city of Siena.

Some views of the presentation by Art&Society students Monday Oct 12 as part of Siena’s week-long series of events Verso: Settimana di arte e architettura contemporanea.

September 2015: Brainstorming works-in-progress

A few snapshots from our brainstorming work-in-progress….


Siena Urban Gardens Project Plan

testo di Bernardo Giorgi

Summer 2014 Feeding the City Conference:

For further information and images: https://feedingthecity-sienaschool-blog.tumblr.com/

Spring 2014:

Here is a glimpse of our end-of-semester exhibit, May 10- May 14 at the Siena Art Institute!


Final Exhibition artwork:

Final Exhibition Inauguration Event, May 10:

February 2014: Mapping and Archiving Projects

Fall 2013

Above / Below Ground Project with Amy Yoes & Mark Dion

Picture 13

Fall 2013: Rassegna Sguardo Sostenibile (Conference series “A Sustainable View”)

Spring 2013

Picture 27
Picture 28

May 2013 Presentation at Galleria Didee

Fourth Project Meeting, April 18
Fifth Project Meeting, April 24

For more information about the Siena Art Institute’s initiatives of The Green Point – Orto Nostro, please visit our website: https://www.sienaart.org/Arte-in-citt%C3%A0/Orto-Nostro-Green-Point/The-Green-Point-Orto-Nostro/