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Art Tourism in Slovenia

A Slow Travel Guide to the Hidden Cultural Gems of Slovenia

Country Background

Nestled between Italy and Croatia, Slovenia is an unspoiled country filled with beautiful mountains, lakes, and coastlines. It is long been a haven for adventure travelers looking to hike, ski, and raft in the Julian Alps and Soča River. The country’s central location has made it a major transit hub for its neighboring countries. The region is largely mountainous, but Slovenia has a 42 km coastline where you can find some beautiful little towns like Izola, Piran, Portoroz, and Koper.

We organize multi-day, international artist-in-residence programs and artist retreats.

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History and Art Intertwined

Art and culture are the backbones of Slovenian history; these two elements have helped the country compensate for its shaky political history. Its culture conveys political and national ambitions especially by means of theater, vocal music, and literature.

Although you likely wouldn't know it at first, Slovenia boasts of a rather developed network of cultural associations, institutions, and centers compared to other European nations. There is a rich artistic and cultural life that is present not only in its capital, Ljubljana, but virtually in every corner of the country. The Slovenian government invests in culture, and it's immediately palpable.

Nearly everyone in Slovenia is by nature a writer, musician, painter, winemaker, actor, or dancer. The visual arts are especially important. Zoran Music is the country’s most renowned modernist painter, and his drawings are displayed in the art collection of Banka Slovenije.

At a glance, the contemporary Slovenian art scene is vibrant and comprise of various approaches and artistic strategies. Every year the country hosts festivals, multimedia events, and performances. Curators and artists work in the larger international arena presenting projects and  at biennials, major exhibitions, and other international events.

Highlights


Metelkova - The Street Art Epicenter

Metelkova is an abandoned military barracks, although you’d hardly recognize it by its current state. It is decorated with punk rock slogans, graffiti, and naïve art. When the site was vacated, it was it was not long before squatters began moving in and owning the buildings. The government tried to intervene in 1993 and demolish the old barracks. At that time, many activists, protestors, and activists protested and saved it from destruction.

See the following video to get a up close view of the place:

Nowadays, a majority of the buildings are covered in statements, weird sculptures, found tiles mosaics, and folk art. The place houses a hostel, free-living squatter population, multiple bars. This bohemian enclave represents the cultural and artistic voice of Slovenia's youth.


Piran

Salt Warehouses

Between Piran and Portoroz lie three architectural jewels: the historic salt warehouses Monfort, Grando, and Magazen. They are listed both as historical and cultural heritage sites. Over the past decades ships carrying salt docked at the neighboring pier and were built during the time of Napoleon. Currently, Monfort doesn’t store salt but has become an exhibition gallery as is part of the coastal regional galleries of contemporary art.


Izola

Izola

Izola is an easygoing town frequented by artists and elderly. The town was owned by many different nations, oligarchs, and kings. It is a typical Mediterranean city center with a church in the middle and narrow, winding streets, and buildings made of stone. The town is is aglow with art during fairs and galleries every weekend.

In front of Izola is a little harbor known for its fish factory. The other section hosts a beach that was renovated some years ago and it offers breath-taking scenery. The area is green with pines and grass littered around the beach.

Extended Art Studio Sessions in Slovenia

Are you a slow traveler looking for a more meaningful experience than just sightseeing? VAWAA offers intimate, intense, multi-day art workshops with curated artists who are experts in their craft. Learn a new skill, experience a different culture, and have a local be your personal travel tour guide.


Borut

Spend 5 days learning Wet Plate Collodion Photo Expedition in Ljubljana

Borut Peterlin is a fine art photographer specializing in analogue photography that includes film, large format photography and darkroom techniques as well as historical processes like wet plate collodion process, ambrotypes, tintypes, salt printing, albumen printing, carbon printing and others.

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Anja

Spend 1 day learning Salt Soap Making in Ljubljana

Anja is a soap maker and designs products and jewelry in stone. Her soaps are handmade bars of natural soap, made using cold process. The base consists of first-class vegetable oils and fats, with additions that are beneficial for the skin.

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Marko

Spend 4 days learning Letter Carving & Letterpress in Ljubljana

Marko is a calligrapher and the only designer doing letter carving in Slovenia. He is the founder of one-of-kind letterpress studio with fully functioning old printing equipment originating from the time after World War II.

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Katja

Spend 5 days learning Contemporary Ceramics in Ljubljana

Katja is a ceramic product designer making products for different occasions - home accessories, lighting and everyday objects. Her work is functional in origin whilst being playful and thoughtful. It's a joy to see her combine different styles, techniques, concepts and materials - especially the discarded industrial made packaging usually thrown away after its original use.

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