I'm sitting under the horse chestnut in Piazza Cavour, which is likely to be one of the most photographed subject in Malcesine together with Enza's art studio. We drink coffee and I ask her to talk about Malcesine: she says the town is soft and generous, even it is just a Medieval hamlet.
We talk about rhythm, equilibrium and affections: all the things that makes you call a place home.
Enza was born in Apulia , she has been painting for all her life and has exhibited her works all over the world for more than 20 years. She has travelled a lot before settling down in Malcesine. She is co-author of some poetry and prose book covers. Her works are included in some private and public art collections both in Italy and abroad.
I ask her when she paints and she tells me:
It just happens! It happens everywhere. Don't ask me why I paint: I don't know. I can only tell you what pushes me to do it; my challenge is: turning any emotion I get from the outside into visual art. The words I write in my art works help me to give a strong thought to what I want to say with silence.
A street artist in Malcesine
I came to Lake Garda in 1998 because I had to work. I worked in a hotel in Garda during the summer, I spent the morning painting on the lakefront until the traffic officers sent me away as painting in the street was forbidden. I felt uncomfortable at work at the hotel, I felt trapped, my life was painting in the streets.
One year later, a friend of mine from Garda who worked as a peddler brought me to Malcesine. To tell you the truth, he forced me to come to Malcesine.
When I arrived in Malcesine with my bare folder full of watercolors, I chose a bench, I was shy and brave at the same time but, as I opened my folder I started to sell.
The same day I met Frinfri the ice cream man and Ciombe the jeweller of via Porta Orientale: they immediately took care of me. In no time at all, they were organizing a signatures collection: Enza had to stay, Enza had to have the chance to be a street artist.
There was no need to write a petition, asking the Municipality office a permit was enough... but this did not matter, Frinfri and Ciombe gave me strength and courage, I was fine because I felt welcomed.
At the end of the day I earned enough to buy something to eat and have where to sleep. I also had a small change left for me.I felt I could have the chance to be a full time artist. So I said to myself: Go on Enza! This is the right time!
There started my adventure as a street artist. I have been showing my paintings in Piazza Turazza for 6 years.
Hella del Santo Cielo made me feel at home.
It was an amazing adventure, I met wonderful and interesting people.
I felt in love with Malcesine because of the cozy feeling I found here. Malcesine is my home!
Then of course, there are the tourists, they come and go; Malcesine is like a seaport for me: everyone comes, leaves me something and then go.
Piazza Cavour - The art studio
After having spent 6 years in Piazza Turazza I wanted to leave but, I found a studio with a house to live in Malcesine.
My studio is the 100 year old red house in Piazza Cavour. I have been living here for 11 years and I think this house really represent who I am.
Getting a glimpse at my red house:
Every day, for 11 years, I have had the feeling to be in a movie set. Hundreds of tourists point their devilish camera at my house and I don't know where to hide myself. If they gave me one euro for every picture they take of my house, I could pay the rent and buy flowers and plants for my balcony. I even wrote a message to them, but they just come here, took their pictures and leave.
In the morning, at 6 o'clock I get up and enjoy the silence of this beautiful square. The horse chestnut stands there, in the middle, it is immense and generous.
This is just an hour before the square wakes up and I have to hurry: I drink a coffee, I smoke a fag and I stand there thinking, saying hello to the world.
I close the door, go back home, and when I get out the square has changed. I start hearing people talking in the street: Malcesine is getting ready for the tourists. I open my art studio and I start to fight against the photographers.
In the evening I close everything and without looking around I run off upstairs, in my house.
This house is old but it is magnificent, it's a magic tower.I go upstairs, I open the tower door, and my evening routine start, far away from the crowd in the square.
And there I find my peace, sometimes I paint.
I found my shelter inside the tower, the world outside can't get in.
Living in Malcesine is like being in a glass bubble filled with some water and nestled among the mountains. Life rhythms are slow and dilated. Malcesine is generous, even if it is just a Medieval hamlet... it is soft and generous. This place has cast a spell on me. I have a nomadic spirit, sometimes I feel like leaving, but Malcesine enchants me, after almost 20 years I am still in love with this little town. I don't know if I'll ever be able to leave this place.