A visit to the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art in Napa is a delightful way to spend a morning. It contains experimental works of Northern California artists from the mid-20th century to the early 21st century in an outdoor 200-acre setting and two galleries. Perched on a hillside, an impressive 30-foot-tall fire-engine-red steel sculpture by Mark di Suvero conveniently marks where to turn off Highway 12.
We roamed the gardens, strolled through the meadows and meandered through the olive groves, all while enjoying the beauty of the sculptures scattered throughout the estate. When we became footsore, we sat by the lake and had a picnic lunch. We’d had the foresight to stop at he CIA at Copia, a branch of the Culinary Institute of America, and order gourmet to-go boxes with glazed pork loin sandwiches and a salad of fresh shisito peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, basil and pomegranate.
The di Rosa hosts regularly changing indoor exhibits that make this a rain-or-shine destination. Ceramic workshops, guided walks around the lake and art classes have turned this institution into a favorite retreat for locals as well as tourists.