Next time you visit Riomaggiore, one of the famous Cinque Terre towns, look at the huge colourful murales. These special and unique murals 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, and they had no cement or other binding material to work with, which makes the landscape that they built unique in the world as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Wandering in Riomaggiore, you’ll notice another mural which represents heroic fisherman and grape growers of the region and it is painted on the walls of the city hall, by the Argentinian artist Silvio Benedetto.
Benedetto explains his work with the following words:
This is how I chose to narrate them – without heroism or vaunting, without “affability” or idealism. I painted men of times gone by who saved their land by raising walls, stone upon stone. These people took on 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. I painted 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.