In 2010, married couple Andrea Bartoli and Favara-born Florinda Saieva bought several abandoned buildings in the town's dilapidated heart and set up this unique neighbourhood devoted to art. Since then, the Farm has become a centre for exhibitions by international and local artists, housing a gallery of thought-provoking, often politically charged, artwork, along with shops, bars and cafes, cultural events, talks, screenings, workshops and shows going on throughout the year. There's also now stylish accommodation within the area's arty streets.
The project has brought a whole new breath of life to Favara, previously known mostly for its general decrepitude and for having one of Italy's highest unemployment rates. Several elderly local women, who had clung to their homes in the semi-abandoned town centre, now live amongst the exhibition spaces, happy to have company and to once again reside in a neighbourhood that is safe and alive. Meanwhile, a growing number of local youth have come to volunteer at the project.
Building walls serve as giant canvases for paintings and sculptures, while courtyards are full of practical installations like plant-pot chairs and brick fountains. Everything is beautifully designed, with a pervasive sense of whimsy and innovative energy. Bartoli and Saieva have even managed to incorporate the local castle, the Castello dei Chiaramonte, a largely unused 13th-century building, into the Farm project, hosting occasional workshops there.