What Cittadellarte is

Cittadellarte wants to inspire and produce a responsible transformation of society through ideas and creative projects.

Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto is a physical place, a concept, a vision, a project, a community. It is a challenge to try and describe in a few words such an articulated and complex reality.
The objective set by its founders is inferred in the name: to create a place where artists, scientists, activists, entrepreneurs and institutional representatives could meet, an actual home for art, an art seen as an instrument of responsible social transformation.
But not only that. The name Cittadellarte incorporates two meanings: the one of citadel, i.e. a place in which art is safeguarded and well protected, and the one of city, a connotation conveying the idea of openness and complex interrelation with the world.
Cittadellarte is also a school-laboratory dedicated to the study, experimentation and development of practices turning the symbol of the Third Paradise into a reality, implying it in every social sector and in every type of organization, starting from the single individual to top institutions like the UN.
The myth itself of the Third Paradise originated exactly here, and in its conception, planning and manifestation, it instigates a constant research aimed at the creation of a trinamic balance between opposites.
Cittadellarte is therefore an innovative model of artistic cultural institution which places art in direct interaction with all the different sectors of society. A place funnelling ideas and projects which combine creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, education and production, ecology and architecture, politics and spirituality. A polyhedral and multi-form body meant to produce civilization, activating a necessary and urgent responsible social transformation at a local and global level.

8 associations of culture and social advancement:

Cittadellarte is a “factory of culture as social fabric”, a vibrant cultural and entrepreneurial community of hundreds of individuals intertwined with the city’s social fabric.

These are the juridically and/or economically independent activities based and operating at Cittadellarte:
– Let Eat Bi (farming supply chain and ethical economy, over 25 associations adhering)
– Better Places / Hydro (youth aggregation, music, theatre, performance)
– Love Difference (association of social advancement dedicated to interculturality)
– Piemex (circuit of commercial credit)
– GASB – Gruppo di Acquisto Solidale Biella (Biella’s group for ethical consumption behaviour)
– FAI (National Trust of Italy), Biella’s delegation
– Parental middle school “Big Picture Learning”
– Coffee&restaurant Crossquare

Its origins

Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto was instituted in 1998 as a concrete action of the Progetto Arte Manifesto, in which Michelangelo Pistoletto placed art in direct interaction with all the areas of human activity which form society.
In the course of its twenty years, the Foundation has welcomed different schools of thought, often promoting them, eventually settling into its present form following the development of the vision/mission/paradigm elaborated by its founder Michelangelo Pistoletto which identifies it in Italy and in the world: the Third Paradise.


Cittadellarte occupies the spaces of a disused factory, the former Trombetta wool mill, an industrial archaeology complex in Biella’s historical textile centre.
It represents a new model of management and fruition of an industrial archaeology architectural complex which has strongly influenced the urban development of the city of Biella since the ‘90s, contributing to the creation of a hub dedicated to culture, music and entertainment (clubs, restaurants, etc…), as well as the digital, with the recent creation of SellaLab, situated on the opposite side of the river, but linked to Cittadellarte since its first steps (FabLab was conceived at Cittadellarte, eventually establishing itself in the complex of the Sella wool mill).

Gli spazi

The fruition

Cittadellarte offers different solutions of use and contact, ranging from a simple guided tour to a constant regular and active involvement. Regardless of the level of “intensity” chosen, visitors are invited to live the spaces of the Foundation getting directly and personally involved, even if in different forms and with different modalities.
You can in fact start to get a feel of the place and its modalities of fruition through a guided tour, and then possibly choose to come back and stay for a few days to take part in the programme of Terme Culturali or in the B.E.S.T. or UNIDEE educational modules; you can join our coworking and therefore be at the Foundation on a daily basis; or you can even become an Ambassador of Cittadellarte and of the Third Paradise in your own territory, committing to experimenting and spreading the values and visions animating each of our activities.

Cittadellarte is a non-profit organization, acknowledged and sponsored by Regione Piemonte. It is situated in Biella, in a XIX century former wool mill, an industrial archaeology complex under the protection of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage.

Cittadellarte is supported by Compagnia di San Paolo and Fondazione CRT.


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