Florence is home to many expats: those who have longed to live here, those who
have found love and moved here, and those who have come to Florence and felt immediately at home here.
Many people arrive here at a point in their lives when they seek to redefine
themselves: whether they were not completely happy, were searching for
something new, or were looking for love, it seems that those who come to Florence are reborn. Florence will always be
the ‘cradle of the Renaissance’ for the art world, but it also welcomes people
of all walks of life who are seeking to follow their hearts.
In 1992, after graduating with a degree in art from the Università di
Concepciòn, Daniela Meza Sigala left Chile
to come to Florence on a grant to study for a
year at Florence’s
Accademia di Belle Arti. However, that year, because of student strikes,
classes were not being held. Instead, Daniela signed up for a-year-long program
at a ceramics school in Montelupo Fiorentino, where she learned painting and
decoration techniques used in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Shortly after returning to Chile,
Daniela looked for a way to come back to Florence.
Applying for a grant to study at the Accademia once again, she was accepted and
returned for another year. At the Accademia, she took courses in figure drawing,
art history, furniture decoration, restoration, and gilding.
At the end of the school year, she decided to not return to Chile but stay in Florence. She met and married a Florentine
artist and fashion designer, Maurizio Bomberini. In 1995, they opened a small
studio on via Montebello,
outside the city center, where she restored and painted furniture while he
pursued his own artistic endeavors.
In 1997, they
opened an artist’s atelier, Montebello,
near the Accademia between Piazza Santissima Annunziata and the Duomo at via
dei Servi 111r. For them, this was the dream location for their atelier: to the
left is the Duomo and to the right is the most beautiful piazza in Florence. In their
atelier, they create decorative objects with recycled wood, from doors or
windows, and paint them. Daniela paints colorful scenes of the Tuscan
countryside and variations on the Santo Spirito church on canvas.
In her artwork, she pays homage to Santo Spirito because of the fond
memories she has of living near the church when she initially came to study in Florence. She considers
the church a rarity in Florence
because of its unfinished façade and unique shape. She is not only charmed by
the church, but also the piazza, which she considers quite cosmopolitan given
the blend of artists, poets, students, artisans, and even contadini from
Tuscany, converging in the piazza each day.
subject of Daniela’s is the Tuscan countryside, with its cypress trees and
‘green waves,’ as she refers to the rolling hills. She is touched by the
landscape because it is so different from the place she comes from in Chile,
where the land is rather flat with mountains dominating the skyline.
For almost 10
years, Daniela took a break from her art and directed her creativity into
taking care of her two children. In her free time, she managed the atelier and
organized Maurizio’s exhibitions. Since 2008, Daniela has returned to paint to
her heart’s content. She has a gift for seeing potential in a piece of discarded
wood and creating art from it. She loves color and infuses her art with such
passion that the viewer can’t help but smile. She continues to use many of the
traditional techniques she learned at the Accademia in her artwork, like
furniture decoration, restoration and gilding.
Daniela considers Florence to be less
provincial than it was when she arrived 18 years ago. She is continually inspired
by this magnificently rich city where so much is happening: each week
interesting exhibitions, concerts, conferences, movies, and plays are taking
place. She says that she doesn’t go looking for inspiration because the city presents
it to her all the time. At every corner of the city, she is inspired and
conveys it in her delightful artwork.