There is a village in the heart of Italy, high above the Tiber Valley, which like many other small towns in Umbria was in danger of depopulation until three years ago. Like Poggiodomo, Polino, Sellano and Parrano, it risked disappearing in the following decades, having lost almost half of its population in sixty years. Then Alviano (in the province of Terni) was rediscovered and brought as an example of sustainable development: its houses of straw and raw soil are a model. Farmhouses which – thanks to the ancient construction technique with natural materials – guarantee comfort, thermoregulation with minimal energy consumption, health. In the spring of 2021, it hosted the conference Le Piazze di Francesco on sustainability (desired by the brothers from the Basilica of Assisi and founded Terni-Narni-Amelia) and last September two weekends to introduce visitors – as part of the HUmbria2o project – the territory, the architecture and the nearby WWF Oasis. On June 4 and 5, Alviano Giardini del Sole and the new Unicorn Path will inaugurate: two destinations that are incorporating low-environmental tourism into the virtuous boom of the circular economy.
The view from the terrace over the gorges of Alviano, in the province of Terni
It is necessary to move with respectful steps to discover this enchanted village. And even if you are not very religious, try to imagine Alviano Square, as Saint Francis, who prayed for the silence of those present during a sermon, managed to silence some swallows screaming around him. We in Umbria are dear to the poor suitor, and the Unicorn Trail winds through myths, art and loves. An international artist has designed a permanent picture journey in eight stagesaround the village and its castle: the idea of the Mexican illustrator Gabriel Pacheco is now celebrated with concerts, workshops for children, performances by street artists, trekking and tastings of typical products organized by the municipality.
The soundtrack on Google Maps
I painted eight states of love, explains Gabriel Pacheco, who draws inspiration from Fragments of a love speech by Roland Barthes. And over the course of this weekend, it’s possible to discover each work by sitting on special benches (architect Rodolfo Bellini designed them) inspired by different ways of “being together”. They are all located on points where you can admire the landscape from above: the gorges, the green peaks of WWF Oasis, mirrored by Lake Alviano. Each scene, Saturday and Sunday, accompanied by a soundtrack: the meditative pills for piano created by composer Arturo Annecchino. To listen to them, simply enter the path marked on Google Maps from your smartphone.
Weddings and myths from the Renaissance
Under the walls of the castle, which dominate the cliff track overlooking the Tiber, the deeds of Bartolomeo di Alviano are recalled: the captain of happiness, written about by Francesco Guicciardini and Niccol Machiavelli. In the manor, there are spaces full of symbols and references to mythology and beauty: there are no tapestries or battle frescoes, but images of family associations, mythological animals and mottos that go beyond time. It is discussed on Saturday at the conference “Renaissance weddings, unions and myths. Bartolomeo d’Alviano and onwards “, with Pacheco, Erminia Irace – Professor at the Department of Ancient and Modern Languages, Literatures and Civilizations at the University of Perugia -, Antonio Fresa, from Federico II University of Naples and Giovanni Ciardo, Mayor of Alviano.
From these spaces, the inspiration for a pictorial, narrative, permanent path was born stages scattered around the village, among the suggestive alleys, the old walls, the clay and straw houses, the terrace overlooking the lands excavated by natural erosion under the Giardini del Sole.The idea begins with the regeneration of a space that embraces the village of Alviano, renovated thanks to the support of Terni LAG – explains Mayor Ciardo – for a project framed in the strategy of the southwestern Orvieto interior. From this renewal was born the itinerary, which we would like to pressure visitors to immerse themselves in the sounds and beauty of art, music and nature. We believe that art and beauty can save those places from which many travel but where others return to enjoy the healthy good life.