Castelbuono: a village out of time

andrew castelbuono

by Benedetta Tintillini


Few steps from world-famous and frequented destinations such as Assisi or Bevagna, or contemporary and glamorous sites as the Carapace ofcastelbuono Arnaldo Pomodoro, lies the small town of Castelbuono , a village where, walking, you wouldn’t be surprise to meet an elf or a fairy.

At an altitude of 400m above sea level, the inhabitant are less than 10 .

We arrive by car up to a small square, called Piazzetta della Pace, of course, and we walk among the gardens and streets, I could not say, because public spaces merge with the private ones.

Everything is small here: the streets , the stairs… and everything blends with nature. And with art. Between a Majesty of the 15th century just outside the castle walls, placed there to greet the traveler and protect him on his journey, and a fresco depicting the Crucifixion, you will see the works of contemporary artists who contributed to the Castelbuono Sculpture Park .

We breath a magical and surreal atmosphere walking through the alleys paved with fascinating flagstones of long time ago, we note that the residents leave the key inserted in the door lock if not even open the door . Inside a room where the door is, in fact, open, I think I see a Santa Claus off-season (here’s where it comes to have his rest! – I think- ). The man intent on his occupation greets us warmly and invites us to enter. I do not think it is very frequent to encounter new faces in town … The affable familiar-looking gentleman is Andrew Stevenson, a British citizen, who came to populate this small village with his Finnish wife about twenty years ago …. How strange life is, I think … from so far away they came to live in a place like this … and we begin to know each other: Andrew is an artist, and he is carving a sculpture made of olive wood that represents the Nazarene at the time which he is taken down from the Cross.

His stories reflected the serenity and joy of living in a place like this, the creativity that contributes to the fulfillment of his plan of life, the enthusiasm with which he shows us and tells us the story of his very particular garden, full of things, lived and relived, reworked for a new life: an old guitar is the back of a chair, the steel steps of a spiral staircase have become bells that move in the wind, attached to the branch of a large tree.

Andrew urges us to meet Anna, the “oldest ” inhabitant of Castelbuono. She came to live here since she married a local man, and never leaved. It will be a pleasure to come to meet Anna, to see the work of Andrew finally completed, to discover new stories.

And all around you the peace, the green, the beauty of nature that inspired the art: a small but not secondary goal, which gives peace of mind and at the same time food for thought, about the true values that should accompany and be at the center of the lives of each one of us.

Take a look at the GALLERY!

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