In the northern part of the province of Caserta , in Campania, almost on the border with Lazio, a small village has existed since time immemorial, called Valogno . This urban agglomeration is part of the municipality of Sessa Aurunca from which it is a few kilometers away and is part of the Roccamonfina – Foce Garigliano Regional Park .
The village of Valogno was rather abandoned to itself: not a refreshment point for any tourists, not a commercial activity belonging to any of the approximately ninety inhabitants, not even a supermarket that prevented the inhabitants from trespassing outside the hamlet to do their shopping! Nothing at all.
It might seem like the story of one of the many depopulated villages of the Peninsula, characterized by forced migrations by young people forced to seek their fortune elsewhere for lack of prospects. But no, Valogno, fortunately, went against the tide .
A story with a happy ending
The placidity and custom of life in Valogno changed when two people, Dora and Giovanni , who lived in Rome with their children, tired of the chaos of the capital, decided to totally change their lives and move to the small Campania village, where Dora owned a family property.
The initial prospects, however, seemed darker than they expected, precisely because of the depopulation of the center. The couple therefore had a winning intuition: to give new life to Valogno. How? First of all through the creation of a cultural association; through it, Dora and Giovanni have contacted artists from all over the world to create a work of art in the open air through colors, as part of the project “The thoughts of gray” . Exactly! The colors have overcome the dark and gray that gripped the small village and brought tourists back to the area, giving new life to what now seemed a ghost place.
How did the colors help Valogno’s rebirth?
The artists called by the Roman couple have created murals that accompany the visitor throughout the visit to the village.
The first mural that you can admire before entering Valogno represents a traveling locomotive and a girl who watches him go away and other characters with luggage waiting; it is called a mural of waiting and arrivals as the central theme that pervades it is that of waiting inside a station and arriving after a long train journey: looking at it you get the feeling that anyone who has ever taken a train knows.
Once you enter the town, near the Church of San Michele , the most loved by the inhabitants of Valogno, you will be able to see the unmistakable face of the now widely known Frida Kahlo and, under it, the words Welcome to Valogno, a hamlet of art .
From here begins the path of the murals: the first in order of distance is the one dedicated to the expedition of Garibaldi’s Thousand . This is followed by that of the spouses, the first of the so-called love trilogy ; in fact, the protagonists are found in two other murals: one depicts them in the moment of engagement, the other in the moment following the wedding, accompanied by their offspring.
There is no shortage of sacred themes combined with profane themes: there is in fact a large and majestic mural depicting a Madonna that is flanked by one dedicated to the artist’s studio , which depicts color palettes and brushes, typical tools of the artists’ notes, which stand out against a background of house facades and verdant plants.
The murals that explain the most typical traditions of the village of Valogno are significant: they are the representation of the workshop of Mastu Felice , a carpenter of the village, and the representation of the feast of San Michele , characterized by a procession of the Saint, crackling and colorful fires fireworks and a cheering crowd of faithful.
Near these two murals there is the so-called think tank , the house of Dora and Giovanni, within which this wonderful project was conceived, developed and implemented. Nearby there is the mural of the mazzamaurielli , sprites who, in popular tradition, lived in the houses and had fun making mischief to the inhabitants.
This is followed by the mural of the trilogy of love mentioned above which sees the spouses now parents and the one representing the brigands on the run , the one depicting the tree of life , the one dedicated to the grape harvest .
There is also no shortage of murals dedicated to children: this is the case of the one of the little girl who catches the stars and of the cat on the roof , as well as the one entitled the night of fairy tales , which represents dreams pushed by a windmill during the night.
A truly innovative project
There are about forty murals that can be admired along the streets of Valogno. But the idea of Dora and Giovanni was not limited only to wanting to cheer up the streets of the village with the colors of the murals: the couple, in fact, organizes walks in company for tourists, curious or passionate about the genre and has created the so called shared lunch . In fact, Dora has the reputation of being an excellent cook and, inside the pensieve, you can taste the excellent homemade products!
Furthermore, thanks to the murals, the typical traditions of the village, such as that relating to San Giuseppe , have been re-proposed to visitors . In Valogno, in fact, there is a church dedicated to the saint whose bells ring only during the month of March and for only nine days, in the context of the so-called Novena . Linked to the feast of St. Joseph is also the preparation of loaves of bread, known as Cuccettelle , which are prepared in the days preceding the feast, to then be blessed during the feast and distributed to the families of the community on March 19 .. At the same time, bonfires are prepared in the streets of Valogno that are destined to burn throughout the night; the meaning inherent in this tradition is apotropaic, because it marks a moment of transition, the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
Why visit Valogno, an art village
Valogno looks like a village taken from the pages of a storybook: the fantastic colors, the images represented and the stories told thanks to the murals make it a magical and enchanted place that literally allows you to daydream.
Visiting this village will allow you to live a unique sensory experience! It will not be only your eyes that will be entranced thanks to the images and the magnificent and bright colors, it will not be only your palate to rejoice while tasting the typical products of the area, and it will not be only your ears to delight in the sweet melodies that pervade. the small streets of Valogno. Already with the path that leads to the village, in fact, it is possible to immerse yourself in a unique experience. You will find yourself surrounded by greenery, totally absorbed in a countryside landscape that smells of other times.
Once in the village, you will breathe the mixture of ancient and modern, of tradition and innovation. The strength of this village will pervade you, it will make you understand how you can be reborn stronger and more beautiful than before. This open-air museum deserves to be visited, respectfully, quietly, but also cheerfully, because admiring and gazing at the fantastic murals one cannot help but smile.
The experience of visiting Valogno is one of those things that must be done at least once in a lifetime; after walking through those streets and meeting the creators of the project and the locals, you will never be the same! You will have lived a unique experience, which will make you want to return to Valogno as soon as possible.