07.10.                      08.10.2023

a house is a house is a home: Garden Weekend

As the seasons shift and we move into the darker winter months, we invite you to the Villa Romana garden for a harvest gathering that celebrates collaborative cultivation. Join us to eat together, for workshops and performative presentations. The weekend is centred around artworks by Daniela Zambrano and Leone Contini as well as a collaborative seed garden, all of which have grown in the garden since spring, bringing together explorations of human-plant kinship and diasporic belonging.

As a new team at Villa Romana we are slowly learning from this garden and its inhabitants. We invite you to join us in doing so over the weekend of 7th and 8th of October:

Saturday 7 October 2023 (as part of Florence Art Week 2023)

10:00 - 13:00, 15:00 - 18:00 Guided tour of the archive with art historian Carlotta Castellani (Università di Urbino)

13:00 - 15:00 Seed Bunch, seed exchange and seed vessel-making workshop

17:00 Orto Continuo presentation and performance by Leone Contini

Sunday 8 October 2023 (as part of Florence Art Week 2023)

13:00 Pachamanca / Cosmic Pot: Andean Community Food Action by Daniela Zambrano Almidón


Seed Bunch workshop, Saturday 13:00-15:00

Seed Bunch is a seed-centered garden and performative seed library, growing in the garden of Villa Romana. It is a an attuning to vegetal agency, freedom, entanglement and co-cultivation. Join us for an experimental seed harvesting session where we will explore the stories attached to some of the garden’s seeds. We will make clay vessels for the storage of seeds through the winter months and use ash to protect the seeds. The seed garden has been imagined with Monai de Paula Atunes and developed with Leone Contini, grown from the generous seed donations of artists and friends. Seed Bunch is deeply informed by artist Zayaan Khan’s work on moving from seed-as-object to seed-as-relation. Open for all ages. 

Orto Continuo Leone Contini, Saturday 18:00  

Orto Continuo creates a space for creative cohabitation of the histories and movements of plants and their custodians. Responding to the evictions of Chinese migrant farming communities from their farms in Prato, Orto Continuo brings together plants from these farms that were forcibly abandoned, or that are in the constant danger of being confiscated, in order to unveil the demagogic circle of institutional/media violence that informs such practice. 

These evictions take place in the local area where Leone lives. Orto Continuo thus carries a responsibility to respond and make visible to the destruction of this form of self-subsistence farming that is able to feed the local community and therefore substainable. This ‘continuing’ garden asks how authorities and media other the cultivation practices of migrant communities through discourses around invasive species. Above all, the garden is a reflection on the practices of resistance that happen despite the evictions, on gardens that are destroyed only to reappear elsewhere, evading capture. 

Join us for a meal and open conversation at Orto Continuo, reflecting on the treatment of migrant farming communities and the movements of plants.

This project is a part of Semenzaio, a research project supported by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture under the Italian Council programme (2023).

Pachamanca / A Cosmic Pot: Andean Community Food Action by Daniela Zambrano Almidón, Sunday 13:00 onwards

Pachamanca means ‘a cosmic pot’ in Quechuan, it is at once sustenance, celebration and collective ritual. Cooked underground and with hot stones a range of ingredients originating in the Andes are cooked together. Artist Daniela Zambrano Almidón works with the deep and vital connection to the Land and connection to the rhythm of the earth in Quechua culture. 

In spring this year Daniela planted indigenous varieties of maize, sweet potato and chili in the garden of Villa Romana. Pachamanca / A Cosmic Pot will create a moment of sharing food and rebuilding memory for Andean diasporic communities in the context of displacement. Based on the Quechuan concept of Ayni as a practice of reciprocity and interconnection Pachamanca / A Cosmic Pot celebrates a moment of connection with the land for migrant families.  

The pachamanca is a celebration that takes place during harvest time. Respecting the rhythm of the land, and with the hope of harvesting the migrant species planted in Villa Romana, the Andean community is invited to participate in this celebration that connects our roots to the land, our histories and identities. This celebration of cosmos, flavours and memories is also a recognition of the migration of food of Andean origin. We are able to share these foods in gratitude to the ancestral knowledge that indigenous communities in the Andes and in their diasporas – such as in Florence – keep in practice, or in memory, and that are indispensable to safeguard life. This cosmic pot is the living recipe that closes this agricultural year and opens a path to the rest of the earth.


Leone Contini studied Philosophy and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Siena. His research sits at the intersection of anthropology, aesthetics and politics and his media include lecture-performances, collective interventions in public spaces, textual and visual narratives and drawings.

Daniela Zambrano Almidón is a Peruvian Quechua researcher and interdisciplinary artist, with experience in artistic projects and research on Andean cultures and their diasporas, decolonization processes, indigenous cultural-ecological heritage, participatory/community art. She holds a Bachelor of Fine and Visual Arts from the National School of Fine Arts of Peru and a Master in Art in Context by the University of the Arts Berlin.

Click here to read the past dispaches.

The Villa Romana e.V. maintains the Villa Romana and the Villa Romana Prize.
The main sponsor is the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
Other sponsors are the Deutsche Bank Foundation, the BAO Foundation as well as - project related - numerous private individuals, companies and foundations from all over the world.

Villa Romana e.V. is supported by:

The Garden Weekend is realised

In collaboration with META MUNDI (Culture and Diversity)

As part of