A peaceful drive along the olive groves and through the windy roads across the green, white, and red rail-colored bridges will eventually bring you to a village that, from a distance, looks like any other run-down small Italian town. But its not an actual town, or even a village really, but instead it’s referred to as a hamlet because it is so small in size! As you reach the streets of Valogno you’ll immediately start to notice color stretching all along the buildings and creeping backwards into the alleyways.
Welcome to Valogno Borgo d’Arte!
““Sembra uscito da un libro di favole”. “It looks like something out of a storybook”. Its narrow streets, its walls, its small courtyards for some years have hosted works of street art and art installations with the clear aim of “coloring the gray of the soul”. Here at 400 meters above sea level, just over 10 kilometers from the Roccamonfina Volcano, just 89 people live among the narrow streets of Valogno, of which more than 70% are over 65. There is no grocery store, there is no bar, only empty houses and a few elderly people. A town that risked inserting its name in the long list of ghost villages scattered a little along the whole of Italy, where, in fact, the gray spread like wildfire… “The path before the murals was to recover the identity of this place, bringing to light the portals of the village, none of which is covered by concrete anymore. Today it has 96 art installations, about forty murals and the rest of the interventions in ceramics or applied arts”- explains Giovanni, who together with his wife Dora, contacted the artists (all paid by the association), choosing by mutual agreement, in the first phase of the project, the themes of the design. Which today happens independently: the local artists themselves prepare the wall and paint it or organize themselves to create new installations. The work rests on the content, so much so that in the village of Valogno it is possible to admire a nativity scene complete with language for the blind, placed outside a house that also houses a solidarity restaurant. Murals are a bit everywhere: on the walls of houses, on the sides of the streets, in courtyards, in a ravine, in a hidden corner. “We do not intervene with regard to the murals that are crumbling. They have no maintenance other than that which nature reserves for them. Once a mural is dead, another one is made. As happens with our existence”- concludes Giovanni. What is surprising, beyond the works of art, is the welcome of the inhabitants of the village. The desire they have to tell a story, theirs, of that mural or installation that they have outside their front door and that they proudly explain to you that it was created by their children or by a local artist. ” [translated from: https://ecampania.it/event/valogno-il-borgo-darte-dove-il-colore-e-terapeutico/%5D
Our spontaneous visit was on a dreary Monday afternoon and we barely saw a soul. It was so quiet it seemed like a ghost town. Our sandals the only thing echoing in the alleys. I did catch two ladies eyeing us from their balconies. One woman asked where we were from and the other was quite the talker! She spoke of her family, her home, and showed us the statue on her balcony, a Saint that was decorated with flowers. It was nice to finally try and engage in some Italian conversation again!
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!