Art and creativity to promote human and social rights in Torino di Sangro

I was a guest artist at “Art and creativity to promote human and social rights” workshops organised by ARCI with the support of ERASMUS + and Torino di Sangro Community. Seven days of workshops that included street art, comics, puppeteering and music, gathered young people from Belgium, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Croatia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, and a host country Italy also involved refugees and asylum seekers, and gave birth to the best workshop I have been to so far. Final event that included presentation of the finished work, concert with puppet theatre, led to late nite BBQ and some kind of mishmash of folk dance had almost 100% positive response, support and inclusion of the local community.

Torino di Sango is a small town, like many other Italian towns, on top of the hill, with small fortress (old city) surrounded by vineyards and olive orchards, about 7 km away from the Adriatic sea. You know, like in every American movie where Julia Roberts needs to get away from New York, by going to Italy, to write a book, or have a shag. Full of history, old folks, tradition and sun. Italy. If you google this place you will find out that one of the landmarks is Sangro River War Cemetery, but it´s actually nowhere near town. There is also like largest nudist community, but I guess it was not yet the season. Just regular folks on the beach and Stuci, my new bold friend.

We were stationed in the Convent of San Felice, now turned into hostel, inside of the national treasure complex, just above the town, secluded, peaceful, with beautiful view. The weather was fantastic, perfect for outdoor activities. Just below the Church is park with playground and small stage space. Below it is a road that leads to the town, following the Carabinieri station and the primary school, and on the other side it leads to botanical garden where you can take a stroll. People are friendly, and there is a small community of ultras, who are lurking in shadows and trolling on facebook. As I did my mural just across the Carabinieri station, I was surprised how much supportive they were. They would come to greet me in the morning, see how much I have done, give me a compliment on my work and have small chit chat.

Young folks are happy followers of Tubismo, a religion of following the way of tubo and listening to Bob Marley, and being happy. And they are willing to share tubo with you, and their happiness. Soon you will find out that they are mostly involved in community projects, you find out about protected regions and endangered species, national parks, best beach bars, and having tubo in front of trabucco. But it doesn´t stop there, because even the middle age populus have respect for tubo. Your  Italian will not get any better but you will speak it with smile on your face.

I would get up around 5:30 in the morning and work until 11.  Not to wake up others, I had my morning coffee at Cafe Bar Noir. That is a place where I have discovered that all Italy adores Lupin III anime. On the wall of caffe there were two paintings by the local artist, Tonia Fabrizio, that featured Lupin III and Fujiko Mine aka Margot. So, in a way, I had my morning coffee every day with Fujiko and Lupin. Be warned, in Italy, in the second season of Lupin III, Fujiko was named Margot, and the name stuck in the collective memory of the nation.

Temperature would rise above 30°C and it was impossible to work during the day. We would have lunch around 13h, after which we would take an hour break at the beach. In the evening I would continue to work on the mural. Inspired by paintings at the bar, it featured other two supporting characters from the Lupin III, Jigen and Goemon. More about Lupin III – Leggenda della Grande Onda or The Great Wave of Torino di Sangro, Italy can be read here.

As far as I am concerned, NOT all roads lead to Rome, because every time I go to Italy, I successfully miss Rome. And all the tourist- crowded places. On the other hand, I am lucky to meet genuine Italy, have good domestic food, vino and enjoy the scenery. So if you are that way, visit Torino di Sangro, meet old and young folks there, they are all friendly and some of them even speak English, although it is not a necessary skill.


The Church and the Convent of San Felice.

A view from the hostel´s terrace.


Cafe Noir


Lupin and Margot by Tonia Fabrizio @ Cafe Noir.