Arcumeggia , the ” open-air fresco Gallery”
If you passes through the provincial n. 394 in Casalzuigno , in the province of Varese , you’ll see the big sign inviting to visit the village Arcumeggia , the ” open-air fresco Gallery” . Even if you don’t know the history of art, you have to go to Arcumeggia to take a step back in time, in Italy in the 60s or so . Every tourist will fully appreciate the simplicity of the country, the green forests that surround it, and the narrow streets crammed with shapes and colors that tell different stories in so many different ways, the atmosphere of the olden days that over the area .
Because Arcumeggia symbolizes , first of all , and especially in the eyes of our contemporaries , the defense of an ideal civil . During this period when Italians are struggling to trust in institutions and their political class , knowing that there was a time in which the public works were made in a few months, and they also had success , does (well) hope in the future.
Why talk about civil ideals? Because Arcumeggia became famous thanks to a public authority and her citizens . Arcumeggia is one of the first villages painted in Italy , on the initiative of the Provincial Tourist Board , headed by the Director Manlio Raffo and President Mario Beretta , who promoted the initiative in a few months called”Painters on vacation .” With this claim they convinced many artists of national importance to visit Arcumeggia and stay there all the time to paint its walls.
To say yes to the invitation were , among others : Achille Funi , Eugenio Tomiolo , Gianfilippo Usellini , Francesco Menzio , Fiorenzo Tomea , Giovanni Brancaccio , Enzo Morelli , Bruno Saetti and Ferruccio Ferrazzi .
The initiative continued for many years with success , so much so that the locals willingly lent their works for the construction of the “House Painter ” , just above the town , to give hospitality to all the artists involved. And in fact, did not disdain a vacation ” working ” on the spot even Sassu , Remo Brindisi , Giuseppe Migneco , Gianni Dova , Umberto Faini and Aldo Carpi , as well as local artists such as Innocent Salvini, Antonio Pedretti and Albino Reggiori . In the summer of 1960 he visited the village Marcello Mastroianni, in the company of Manlius Raffo and Remo Brindisi !
Who goes up there ( 567 m above sea level) can see hundreds of frescoes depicting scenes of popular life , religious figures , villagers and local crafts . While keeping in mind that it is the work performed on a commission basis in a very short time, often mere reproductions of subjects already discussed , the set is powerful and evocative yet years later . The messages are based in reality never aged : love for the job and the family, the sense of prayer and the simple life that most approaches to God , the proximity of art to the people.