What Cittadellarte is

Cittadellarte wants to inspire and produce responsible change in society through creative ideas and projects.

Cittadellarte – Pistoletto Foundation is a place where artists, scientists, activists, entrepreneurs, scholars, administrators, farmers, designers, architects, doctors and representatives of the institutional world converge, a city of art, where art is lived and taught as a journey of transforming society in a responsible sense.

The name Cittadellarte incorporates three meanings: that of citadel, or an area in which art is protected and well defended.
That of the city, which corresponds to the idea of openness and complex interrelationship with the world. And that of civitas, an expanded, global, cosmopolitan civilization.

Cittadellarte, above all, is a laboratory-school dedicated to the study, experimentation and development of practices that translate the symbol of the Third Paradise into reality.
Practices that imply the dynamic balance of the trinamic principle in every social context and in every type of organization.
Starting from the single individual up to the most accomplished institutional bodies such as the United Nations.
Passing through every form of organization such as businesses.
The associations.
The institutions.
The groups.
Everyone of these, in fact, fabricates and governs (or tries to) human life.


The myth of the Third Paradise itself has its origins here.
And with it, the City of Biella becomes a UNESCO Creative City, in 2020.
The Biella area is a living laboratory of the Third Paradise in real size.
It is a territorial project, whose title is Biella Città Arcipelago Demopratico.
And hundreds of Ambassadors of the Third Paradise in over 50 countries around the world find their origin, their mother house, here.
Cittadellarte, therefore, is a new model of artistic and cultural institution that places art in direct interaction with the different sectors of society.
To generate those changes that people, the inhabitants, feel they need.

Here live questions like: how will we live?
How will we eat and dress?
How will we build and move around the world?
How will we regulate our relationships with each other and with nature?
How will we design objects?
How will we take care of water, energy, forests, climate, mountains, deserts and wetlands?
How will we organize government and law?
To these and other questions that concern the essence of living with the Earth and its other inhabitants, at Cittadellarte we study the practices that tend to propose answers, reflections, studies and perspectives.

Those who come to visit Cittadellarte will find projects in all these sectors, stories and challenges, myths and masters, informal groups of citizens and inhabitants who create.
Because “creating is human”.
No one is excluded by nature from this human practice.
Unless prevented from doing so by other humans.
The world is a continuous, immense creation.
Destruction itself is.
How can creation and destruction be brought together?
Can opposites find reconciliation?
How can the good that is in each of us relate to the evil that equally dwells in each of us?
The new myth of the Third Paradise, the formula of trinamic creation, the art of demopraxy, accompany us to explore how to live and operate by answering these questions.

12 – Twelve cohabiting autonomous organizations:

Cittadellarte, in the wool textile district of Biella, as in the rest of the world, is a factory of… social fabric.
It cooperates with hundreds of other private and public organizations, formal and informal, profit and non-profit, active in every field of human activity.

But Cittadellarte also hosts various activities, projects or spinoffs of Cittadellarte or which are autonomous and distinct:

  • Accademia Unidee, Academy of Fine Arts* with three-year courses, masters, international curriculum
  • Unidee in Residence International Program, the first AIR program dedicated to socially engaged art, since 1999, over 1200 alumni
  • Let Eat Bi, agri-food supply chain and solidarity economy, more than 25 member associations
  • The school of the third paradise Elementary Parental School
  • Cittadellarte Fashion B.E.S.T. – Better Ethical Sustainable Thinktank, sustainable fashion platform for businesses, brands, fashion designers, institutions.
  • Visible project, platform for the study and promotion of socially engaged artistic practices
  • Suzuki violin course, from 3 to 18 years
  • Better Places / Hydro, association gathering young people, music, theatre, performances
  • N.O.V.A. Civitas new living organisms, project for the construction of sustainable spaces and objects
  • Love Difference – Artistic movement for an intermediterranean policy
  • GASB – Biella Solidarity Purchasing Group
  • Bistro le Arti, Coffee&restaurant

* currently being recognized by the Ministry of Education.

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.

If you want to know the history of this story… here you will find some traces.


Cittadellarte is located within an industrial archeology complex in the historic textile center of Biella. The main building is the former Lanificio Trombetta, a monument to the history of work and business.
Today it is a factory of social fabric.

The Foundation therefore represents an innovative model of management and use of the architectural complex of industrial archeology which has contributed strongly to the urban reorganization of the City of Biella since the 1990s.
Cittadellarte was fundamental in the birth of an urban hub dedicated to culture and musical and entertainment activities (clubbing, restaurants, etc…), as well as digital, with the recent birth of SellaLab, located on the opposite bank, but connected to Cittadellarte since from its first steps (think of the FabLab for which the first premises were laid at the Pistoletto Foundation and then established at the Lanificio Sella complex).

The spaces

The visiting paths

You can visit Cittadellarte with different types of use and contact: from a simple guided tour to active and constant involvement over time!
Whatever the level of “intensity” chosen, you will be invited to experience the spaces of the Foundation, involving yourself directly, obviously as you wish.

After an in-depth guided tour, you can return to stay for several days in Cittadellarte itself and participate in the B.E.S.T. training modules. or Unidee courses. Or even the Academy of Fine Arts.
You can buy good and healthy food at the Let Eat Bi farmers market (every Wednesday from 10:00) or take care of one of the vegetable gardens connected to it.
You can bring your children to the Terzo Paradiso parental primary school, and be part of the educational community!
Or you can come with your school, do a PCTO, a trip, a workshop
You can bring your firm to events and workshops here, on art and responsibility, sustainability and creativity, participation and active citizenship.
There are those who organized their wedding party in Cittadellarte! Maybe with the intervention of artists.
And there are lots of other projects, and the Working Tables of the Biella Città Arcipelago Demopratico project, on the topics of education, nutrition, water, energy, hospitality and tourism…

You can even become true Ambassadors of Cittadellarte and the Third Paradise in your territory, engaging in the experimentation and diffusion of the values and visions that move and underlie every activity hosted here.

Fondazione Pistoletto Cittadellarte is a non-profit organization of social utility, now ETS. Its headquarters in Biella is an industrial archeology complex recovered from abandonment and decay, now partly protected by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, with several buildings whose origins are wool manufacturing (19th century), paper mill (19th century). XV) and modern times (20th century).

Cittadellarte supports the coverage of its budget expenses with self-generated resources and with tenders for a total of approximately 97%. It receives support from the Piedmont Region as public contributions, equal to approximately 3% of its expenses (2023 data).


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