Art and Culture
The Valley of the Painters
Homeland of many artists and source of inspiration for landscape and portrait painters, the Vigezzo Valley is known to many as the Valley of the Painters: traces of strong artistic presence in the valley are still visible in stately and rural homes, in the museums and numerous places of worship.
In the votive chapels or small churches, you can admire examples of devotional painting, paintings on canvas or frescoes by local painters such Borgnis, Cavalli and Fornara.
The culture is found in the numerous museums of Santa Maria and throughout the Valley; first among all, the Museum of the Chimney Sweeper inside Villa Antonia, to remember this trade made of sacrifices and migration from the valley to all over Europe. Every year chimney sweepers from all over the world gather in Santa Maria at the characteristic International Meeting in September.
In the historic center of Santa Maria Maggiore, the "Rossetti Valentini" School of Fine Arts contains a real artistic treasure exhibiting the works of the Vigezzino painters from the mid-eighteenth century to the whole of the twentieth century. Furthermore, the Casa del Profumo was born in Santa Maria Maggiore: a journey through perfumes, aromas and suggestions, which will lead you to the discovery of the true history of the Cologne Water.
Moving on to Malesco, an indication of this rural civilization is the Mulino dul Tàc, the ancient mill of the late 1800’s, located in the village of Zornasco, used in the past for the production of rye and chestnut flours, and whatever else the earth could offer. Still in Malesco, you can visit the Museum of Earthenware and Masons inside the Praetorian Palace, a concrete evidence of man’s exploitation of this local resource since prehistoric times.
There are many places of interest in the other towns in the valley, such as the majestic Sanctuary of Re, dedicated to the Madonna del Sangue, the famous Treasure of Craveggia conserved in the village church and consisting of crosses, vestments and the funeral mantle of Louis XIV, or the Museum “Ca di Feman" (the women’s house) in Villette which has a collection of many typical tools and objects used by the women of Vigezzo for domestic activities.