I come from a really small region in the south of Italy. It is wild, authentic, slow. It is high and low, sunny and cold, colourful and dark. It is also poor, lost in its own life inertia, reluctant to changes and too often ignored by the outside world. I love my region, I love its food, I love its traditions, landscapes, and its quietness. However, too often this sleeping beauty has been ignored by others, and has been put in a cultural coma by a leadership too interested in its own personal profits.
I went back few days ago, to spend some time with my parents. I love to do that, but every time I need to be prepared physically and mentally to be fed with the “shovel” by my mum. Delicious food that makes my senses sing and my clothes shrink!
In the last years I read of several artistic initiatives organized by young and active guys living across my region. I know that they have begun to attract considerable interest and are giving back life to our dying region. Finally, last week I had the chance to spend some time wandering around my region admiring the results of these activities.
In the last couple of years two outstanding initiatives have been conducted in the region main city, Campobasso, and in a tiny village of 400 people climbed on a rock immerse in the nature, Civitacampomarano.
The events organized in both locations intend to give life back to dying parts of our regions through street art. In south Italy, and in my region as well, most of the life is happening in the streets. The meeting points of youngsters are somewhere in the streets, close to that specific wall, or to that old playground. The old ladies of the villages bring along their old wooden chairs and meet all in the closest clearing and talk about the good and the bad of every person in the village. The street is the place were life has happened for centuries in these regions and there was no better way to resuscitate these areas than giving back to the streets a focal role in society. Throughout the year in both Campobasso and Civitacampomarano, international renowned street artist meet to give new voice to the wall of old buildings, there are drawing classes for kids, the old of the village meet the youngsters for dancing some newly mixed dubstep/funky bits, or to share some old recipe. There are walking and biking tours to admire the magnificent work of the artists on the walls, doors, windows.
I have honestly never been to Civitacampomarano, and I am sure that if it wasn’t for the street art feast, I would have never gone there. I loved to get lost in the tiny streets of the village, cradled by the smell of meat on the fire following the more abstract artistic creations. I went around, I looked the walls full of colours and full of meanings, showing faces, monsters, flowers. I looked the old houses, I talked with the people, I bought amazing cheese, I breath an air so thin that makes you feel lighter, and I felt good. I felt happy. I felt alive. I had the same feelings in Campobasso, with the addition of pride. Yes, I felt proud of being there and spend time to look at my city that is finally alive! I thank and admire all the guys involved in these projects that with so much effort and passion found the way to give life to our region!
There is much more than what you can read in the few lines I wrote above. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to check their websites and promotional materials, and why not to get on a car/train/plane and visit our regions. I promise, you will not regret it!
Draw the line (Campobasso)
Street Fest CVtà (Civitacampomarano)
Image in the header taken from: http://wp.me/p7Jfwb-5P