Sunday, 16 December 2012

An eyeful of Azzinano



Not on your typical Italian itinerary, the town of Azzinano offers a unique insight into countryside culture through murals painted on home facades in an annual festival.

Every year, around mid-August, the mountain town of Azzinano in Italy gets a makeover. Artists from all over the country descend into this tiny village, home to some 164 inhabitants, in the foothills of Gran Sasso, the highest mountain of the Apennine range in the Teramo province. In true Italian tradition, they take to their paints and brushes and draw murals like past Italian maestros did on church ceilings and palace walls. Only this time, their canvasses are the modest, but quaint, village houses lining cobbled streets.

Not on your typical Italian itinerary, the town of Azzinano offers a unique insight into countryside culture through murals painted on home facades in an annual festival.
Every year, around mid-August, the mountain town of Azzinano in Italy gets a makeover. Artists from all over the country descend into this tiny village, home to some 164 inhabitants, in the foothills of Gran Sasso, the highest mountain of the Apennine range in the Teramo province. In true Italian tradition, they take to their paints and brushes and draw murals like past Italian maestros did on church ceilings and palace walls. Only this time, their canvasses are the modest, but quaint, village houses lining cobbled streets.

The ten-day event called “Walls Tell” has been held two years in a row since 2011 to commemorate the memory of Annuziata Scipio, a renowned painter hailing from Azzinano. Originally the brainchild of Luciano Marinelli, who painted murals in honour of Scipio, the event has become a celebration of the region’s life and culture where painters now paint murals on specific topics on the front walls of houses.

Of course, the sight is refreshing for the locals, who see their houses bathed in new colours every year. And it “spreads peace, joy and happiness among all villagers,” as Antonello Pescosolido, a local tourist guide says. But the locals specifically pride themselves on this tradition for it serves to preserve and showcase the region’s cultural heritage that the new generation is losing touch with.

“It is important to revive the old culture of the land, even if it means through paintings,” says Silivia Bucci, a local. “When youngsters come to this village and see the [depictions of] indigenous games played in the countryside that are now extinct, they learn about their history, which they should not have forgotten [in the first place]. The murals offer stories from the past, knowledge of tradition and a message on local culture and philosophy. They also depict the colours of life in Azzinano and the surrounding towns.”

For tourists who visit Azzinano at this time of the year, it’s probably a detour from the conventional, and massively popular, tourist trail in Italy. The village and its attractions boast of no grandiosity like the Colosseum in Rome does, nor does it offer the romance that gondola rides over Venetian canals do. Still tourists find the sights of colourful paintings against the green and tidy backdrop of lush mountains and quaint cityscape very unique. After all, like Bucci says, “It is like a gallery of large paintings under the sky roof, an outdoor museum which can be visited free of charge anytime of the year.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogger Gadgets