When art explodes in the stories of everyday life and wonderfully overturns the grey vision of routine, an enchanted, almost unreal place is born, where at every step you enter a fairytale.
Once upon a time, in the heart of Campania, perched on a gentle hill, there was a small village called Valogno.
A place abandoned by everyone, with no crowded places, no supermarkets, no skyscrapers or gyms.
It had only a few inhabitants, older people, who lived on simplicity and ancient traditions. No one came through here, and everyone sought their fortune elsewhere.
"There is a place I keep hidden for you. A place that has always been here. It was there before me, and it is still there. It opens for us eternally now."
Signs from the Past
Valogno, a small hamlet of Sessa Aurunca in the province of Caserta, was famous in the past as a therapeutic place for those who came from the marshy areas of the Domitian coast and suffered from respiratory diseases. Here they found good air and a monastery where they could be welcomed and treated with herbs and ointments.
Later Valogno became the perfect place for banditry. Even today, it retains a strong link with this phenomenon, which was experienced as a strategic area.
Between the 1960s and 1990s, people began to leave the village searching for work, and from 500 souls, less than 100 remained.
As with so many other places in Italy, it seemed that Valogno too was destined to have no happy ending, becoming a ghost town.
As happens in the best fairy tales, a pair of heroes and their families come to change the history of this tiny jewel of Campania.
It is the story of Gianni and Dora, who, tired of the stressful and chaotic life in the city and in search of a healthier way of life for their children, return from Rome to their home town.
Courageous heroes who, with an "act of faith", gave hope back to a place that was losing its identity.
They are tangible evidence of how much can be achieved for one's territory by enhancing it and elevating it to "Borgo d'Arte".
Their wish was to return to the old Valogno, a happy place with the typical physiognomy emerging from volcanic tuff.
They certainly did not want to live within dull, grey walls, in an abandoned place where only dark concrete walls remained.
Gianni and Dora founded the non-profit association "Valogno Borgo d'Arte" by activating their superpowers of foresight, creativity, determination, and courage. They invited local artists and artists from all over Italy to "Colour the Grey" to bring happiness, brightness and life back to the village.
The Rebirth Murals
Thanks to the initiative of Gianni and Dora, even the few inhabitants of Valogno have rediscovered a solid motivation to enhance one of the most beautiful places in the province of Caserta.
Valogno is reborn from the bright colours of the beautiful works of art that welcome visitors and lead them into extraordinary worlds.
Here, there is no need for the internet or other forms of escape to travel to enchanted places, amidst historical scenes, meeting famous people, or entering fantastic tales for which the child in us returns to wonder.
The marvellous picture of Matilde Serao welcomes many curious tourists who love historical places and art.
Artist after artist, starting from Via Natali that descends the village, the town is repopulated with stories such as "Garibaldi's Expedition of the Thousand" or the "Trilogy of Love" depicting two lovers holding hands, followed by "The Bride and Groom" and the colourful scene of a family travelling with their children. Superb!
Not only are fantastic stories depicted, but also scenes recalling the historical events of Valogno, such as the scene depicting the "phenomenon of Brigantaggio".
Above all, they depict the deep-rooted traditions of the place, such as "La Bottega di Mastu Felice", the carpenter, and the mural dedicated to the devotion to Saint Michael, the patron saint of the village.
The mural depicting the "Mazzamaurielli", the spirits of children who live in the houses and play tricks on the children and inhabitants, is lovely. This frames the "Pensatoio", the place where the project began and continues to grow.
The Village of Wonders
At every corner of Valogno, you will find comic strips, art installations, women on balconies and older people gathered in a circle for a chat. It is a unique place that belongs to everyone, those who visit on purpose, those just passing through, the curious and those looking for company.
Valogno is not just a place; it is an experience.
It is a metaphysical space in which to travel with images, ideal for those who want to take a break and let themselves be carried away by stories and imagination.
Because, after all, we are all a little childish inside, still desirous of surprising ourselves and dreaming in a surreal atmosphere.