....Pictures of the Valley
... Powers to delineate all this fail me ...
In his masterpiece “Italian Journey” Wolfgang Goethe regretted not being able to describe the beauty of the places he visited…
There is traces of that artistic splendor everywhere but especially in the museums where, besides the archaeological finds, the paintings of Giacinto Gigante and the other artists of the School of Posillipo are preserved, which refer to us the images of the Valle dei Mulini di Gragnano of that time .
Art in the Valley, the Valley in Art
A stopover in Gragnano was a must of the so-called Grand Tour, a precursor of modern tourism. Wealthy people used to take this journey since their education could be considered complete only once the Italian peninsula and its artworks from Classicism and Renaissance had been seen. This trend occurred during the XVIII and XIX centuries, despite ongoing territorial conflicts (Italy was politically divided in several states) and years of foreign domination, not to mention the widespread phenomenon of banditry. Gragnano was well situated, few kilometres away from the most popular destinations of Naples, Paestum, Castellammare di Stabia, Pompeii, Sorrento. It was also on the pathway which connected the two coastal areas of the Sorrento peninsula. Gragnano was admired mainly for its natural landscape and for the great amount of agricultural products. This abundance resulted from the fertile soil sprinkled with vesuvian pyroclasts, which lent unforgettable flavours to local products. Gragnano’s mountain paths were full of people walking around the Valley of the Mills and looking for its most picturesque corners. Grand Tour travellers often brought drawers and painters along: it was a way to get glimpses of landscape painted as souvenirs to be shown to friends and colleagues once back home. This generated much interest as well as a spirit of emulation.
© 2017 by Ingenito Pietro -