My first trip out of town after the last lockdown could only have as a destination some new colorful place in Italy: a deep need to see and breathe colors, a wellness therapy after a long time spent indoors.
This time it is the color of painted doors and gates: those of Maccagno Inferiore.
Maccagno is a tourist resort on the Lombard shore of Lake Maggiore that boasts an illustrious history because the village welcomed Otto I in 962, perhaps surprised, according to legend, by a storm during the boat crossing of the lake. The hospitality must have been decidedly appreciated by the emperor, so much so that he conferred on Maccagno the title of imperial fief. The Giona torrent marked the limit of the privileged territory granted by Ottone: it was thus that the division between Maccagno Superiore and Maccagno Inferiore or Maccagno Imperiale originated, which even acquired the right to mint coins with its own mint.
A walk in via Mameli reveals the economic well-being of the ancient village: crenellated turrets, stone portals, small Italian gardens and, on the walls of some buildings, traces of frescoes with votive images and heraldic coats of arms. Steep steps and characteristic paths connect this road with via della Bella, where the past is witnessed by suggestive views.
And it is precisely in the historic center of Maccagno Inferiore that since 2016 artists from all over Italy and Switzerland have transformed doors, gates, windows into works of art with the aim of creating an open-air museum in the ancient urban core. Art and colors have become the protagonists thanks to the initiative of the association Il ponte degli Artisti which, led by Savi Arbola and in collaboration with the municipal administration, has decided to give a new face to gates, stalls, cellars, doors, often dilapidated and unused, with the intention of making them still functional and viable.
The painters were not asked to elaborate a precise theme, but to freely interpret, each with their own style, the objective of the project, through the creation of simple, colorful and understandable works by any user. This is how an old rusty iron door was transformed into a window on the sea, the entrance to an ancient butcher's shop in a wooded forest populated by female faces, a forgotten door in a colorful wool blanket with the Urban technique Knitting.
The first edition of the event took place on 2 July 2016 but the project continues and expands its horizons. On the windowsills, next to the doors or in small flower beds you will see colored stones with verses and aphorisms by Alda Merini. Art therefore expressed by painting, by colors but also by poetry; 360 ° art as a fundamental tool for the recovery of forgotten historic centers which are given a new aspect, a new way of use, a new life.
In addition to visiting the painted gates, there are many opportunities that Maccagno offers tourists: there is the possibility of dedicating oneself to water sports given the splendid position on Lake Maggiore, to practice climbing, with the Cinzianino rock gym, of play tennis, beach volleyball and skate on the skateboard rink.
Like a bridge over the mouth of the river Giona stands the Parisi-Valle museum, the work of the Roman architect Maurizio Sacripanti. The structure has an important symbolic value because it unites Maccagno Superiore and Inferiore and a significant architectural value: in 1992 it obtained the prestigious National Award IN / ARCH 1991-92 for a management, cultural and service building complex. Inside there is a collection of modern art and numerous exhibitions are held.
The Amalfi Coast has much to offer, such as small shops selling local products like the renowned limoncello. It contains wonderful historic sites such as the Cathedral of Amalfi, and, most importantly, the dramatic coastal scenery that surrounds the area: cliffs and stunning waterscape.