mercoledì 12 agosto 2015

Guardia Sanframondi and Vinalia festival reportage


Last week i decided to spend some days (Mon-Sat) in a town called Guardia Sanframondi. It’s in the Sannio area of the Campania region (where the Sannitic population used to live in the Roman era), and during these last five years this little medieval town has seen an increasing tourism due to the low priced houses in the historic centre. And for Vinalia. 


In Guardia Sanframondi, lots of people decided to buy a new apartment and live their bucolic life here in which I recognize the “Toscana of southern Italy”. 50% of the regional wine production takes place in the “Telesina Valley”, Silicon Valley of wine (and olive oil!).Never been there but had the chance to meet and old couple from the city I live that owns a house just in the most famous part of Guardia, via San Filippo Maria Guidi. The Paseo de Gracia, 46th street, or Via Toledo of the medieval era.

Some fresh Mozzarella and Prosciutto Crudo from Pietraroja (BN) bought in a Guardia Sanframondi Supermarket during the first day

The kitchen balcony view on San Filippo Maria Guidi street, the Guadia Sanframondi historic centre main street

Mirko, one of my friends, is finishing to restore his apartment in via San Filippo, it will be a nice BandB with an amazing panorama, so me and my brother decided to give him a hand, living for a few days with no tv or radio, and enjoying this event called Vinalia that every year, from 4th to 10th of August, invades the streets of Guardia Sanframondi, with music, wine, street food and art exhibits.

A view from the bedroom balcony

Yes, our old house was nice, but no modern equipment like lcd tv, dtv, wifi or satellite. 
The apartment is for selling so only basic furniture. But hey, with our smartphones we can check everything, unless you end up almost finishing your monthly internet gigabyte
in a few days! The air was so fresh, the temperature not that hot and the humidity quite good.  In the ancient cellars there was what we called (Ed. after this short staying, thanks to Clare sentence) the medieval air conditioning. It was so interesting to see how suddenly the temperature changed, probably this is how the old Lords used to cool themselves, just going downstairs.

The view on Filippo Maria Guidi from the street (Panoramic)

The view on via Supportico from the street (Panoramic)

There are some guides on the net about Guardia Sanframondi, I recommend taking a look to Eric website:

It’s really useful but not updated because he no longer lives there.
At the end of this post, you can find the new autobuses timetable and some other useful links.
Actually, the foreign community is growing, there are people from Canada, USA, UK living there and there are also artist residencies like Arthouse Guardia

and Terra Vivente Art Studio

I met Clare Galloway, the Scottish artist that I think started the international fame of Guardia thanks to the US TV Show House Hunters

Now she speaks a really good Italian and is no longer a foreigner!
Take a look to her blog with a lot of videos and photos from Vinalia.

I strongly recommend a visit to Clare studio if you decide to go there.

During the first days I met some locals like Carmine ( )

and Vito, two artists that organized an art exhibit in an old cellar right outside my house. I had free music for the entire staying and outside my kitchen window there was a projected video on the wall of the opposite building, like if I had a movie theater in my house!

There was a beautiful panorama from the main bedroom upstairs, and during the dusk hours with some jazzy music that came from Vito and Carmine speakers, the flowing of the river and some fresh air , it was a very meditative situation.

The view on Carmine and Vito exhibit

About the things to visit in Guardia Sanframondi, there are quite a few churches but most of them not practicable due to structural problems (the 1980 earthquake ruined a lot of buildings), there is a museum of farmer tools, the Castle of Sanframondo with its view on the Telesina valley, the narrow streets and all the old fountains. But be prepared, there are almost no flat roads, so a lot of stairs to climb, and a lot of squat sessions if you’re over 5’7” or 1,70m, because many houses have spiral staircases or low passages due to some ancient medieval architectures (I’m almost 6’2” – 1,87m so you can imagine).
During Vinalia I met some tourists from Canada that recently bought a house just in the historic centre and for what I know, people from California and some other states of US decided to do the same.

The amazing view on the top of the castle

About Vinalia, it’s a nice event with a lot of music variety and food choices, everything really cheap and fresh cooked. But the main character, for obvious reason, is the wine. Prices are really cheap so it’s a bonus. Also there is this show cooking on the top of the castle with famous chefs that cooked in front of you the dishes of the day.
A fun fact, during my last evening (on Friday) there was this band, The Mind Postitions, playing in the small square, Piazza Fabio Golino. They started the session really slow, having on very dull clothings and the performance was almost boring, but after some bottles of wine drank by the singer and an endless performance with no pause, things started to be interesting, transforming that very low profile band in something Woodstock-a-like, with a bald Jim Morrison shouting songs by the Doors, Stones, Lou Reed and David Bowie. The singer ended up laying on the floor with no strength, with a bunch of guys trying to take a selfie with him, all laying on that special spot from the streets of Guardia Sanframondi.
Things can get pretty busy due to the event, but this is why in this period Guardia is so special, I guess once the party ends, the way of living up there is pretty simple and quiet.

People in the streets during the night

During summer, Guardia Sanframondi it’s not so easy to reach. The train station it’s in Telese Terme, not that far, but there are almost no autobuses when the school season ends. There is one in Naples. Its route is Naples – Campobasso and it stops right in Guardia, near the San Rocco church and the Gran Caffè (a famous bar full of old lads sitting outside, the youngest it’s like seventy years old).
Well, let the image speak for themselves and for further information check the document below and the websites posted. I had no car during the staying so no chance to visit the nearby towns of Cerreto Sannita, Cusano Mutri and Solopaca. Also in Cerreto there is this old bridge on the river Titerno that may have been crossed by Hannibal and its army during the 217 B.C.
I took the train from Telese Terme at 17:00 on Saturday. We went directly to Naples without the need to change in Caserta station.
I’m a city guy, used to live in a very busy context, where everything is easy to reach and buy. Anyway that fresh mountain air and amazing views surely recharged my batteries but hey, actually I’m living near Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Capri, Ischia, Pompei and Herculaneum. Something else to say?
Ciao e grazie!

One of the groups in Piazza Golino, Victorzeta e i fiori blu (Not the one i mentioned above!)


Some pictures of Guardia Sanframondi taken using my Smartphone:

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