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Translated Jeff Matthews

I had been there a week earlier, but now getting an invitation to lunch while I was in my car driving back to this charming little village in the hills near Caserta made me step on it a bit. Valogno is cradled in the hills near Sessa Aurunca and was recommended to me by my friend Rosaria Pezzella who photos of the place had aroused my curiosity and imagination. Today I was returning with calm and absolutely determined to lay bare some secret treasures.

Fortune had led me to meet Giovanni Casale, who, together with his wife Dora, is the real "Deus ex machina" behind the rebirth of Valogno, which he himself describes as "a town 90 persons above sea level." It's a phrase he coined in order to underscore the fact that everyone in the village is contributing to rejuvenating the village--this from a population that is largely elderly. My curiosity led me to ask him why someone from Rome would come down here to adopt and bring back to life these few walls, which perhaps were just following their natural decline, finishing the lifespan, so to speak. And so, over a steaming pot of coffee in his home, he told me of his project to transform with murals one of the places... "...of our old South...to liven up the drab gray that is so often typical of our small towns" and turn it into a colorful and fanciful album of design.

I spent a few hours wandering among the small streets, courtyards, and the underground canteens, or looking up at the balconies and being surprised and delighted at the variety. It was rather like being a child again and paging through the old books of fairy tales that my father had conserved so carefully.

I have nothing else to add except to urge you to visit this magical place and be carried away by your imagination and by the kindness of the townspeople, who will open their homes to you.

Here are some photos I took of the artwork that adorns those old walls and buildings.

And here is a link to the  gallery that contains further photos. Valogno: village of art.

Enjoy the photos. Most of all, have a pleasant walk in Valogno.

Click on images to enlarge

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