Faces and PlacesCinque Terre

The Unknown Heroes – Riomaggiore

When you arrive in Riomaggiore village, in front of the very modern Tourist Information Office, look at the huge colourful mural by Silvio Benedetto. The mural tells the story of the men and women who over several generations and thousands of years built and maintained more than eight million cubic meters of dry stone walls that run throughout the Cinque Terre.

They used only sandstone, they had no cement or any cohesive material to work with, which makes the landscape that they built unique to the world.

Another mural located in Riomaggiore is the one that represents heroic fisherman and grape growers of the region and it is painted on the walls of the city hall,  by the Argentinian artist named, Silvio Benedetto.

When you visit Riomaggiore and the other five villages of Cinque Terre stop for a moment and look at these murals, they will tell you about unknown heroes whose past labours have contributed to make the Cinque Terre what it is today.

The Argentinian artist Silvio Benedetto explains his works with the following words:  “This is how I chose to narrate them – without heroism or vauting, without “affability” or idealism. I painted men of times gone by who saved their land by raising walls, stone upon stone. These men decided to undertaked this opus independently, that is without subjection, and this is why upon seeing their portayal someone commented, “there’s toil but also serenity in their faces”. Hard but serene faces. faces like the landscape with wrinkles like furrows that do not welcome impostors, jesters or the high and mighty, but seeds of freedom. Ipainted men that prop up the land: one passes stones between strawberry trees and honeysuckles, another places stones among salamanders and yet another hits the stones and frightens the jays”

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