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The places of the soul, a diffuse museum

When you enter the Marecchia Valley from Badia Tedalda and Sestino, leaving the province of Arezzo to enter the province of Rimini, Pennabilli is one of the first municipalities to be encountered among those included in the Sasso Simone and Simoncello Interregional Natural Park.

It is home to a special diffuse museum, called I Luoghi dell’Anima (Places of the Soul), the brainchild of the poet, writer and screenwriter Tonino Guerra, who left Rome in 1989 and moved to the village in the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines to spend his old age in his homeland.

The exhibition itinerary consists of seven places in the historic centre and the hamlets, almost all outdoors, each with its own characteristics but united by the objective of stimulating the imagination and inviting reflection through art installations and permanent exhibitions.

The “Forgotten Fruit Garden” collects fruit trees belonging to the spontaneous flora of the Apennine countryside, once present in the old farmers’ gardens. The museum also houses the “Mulberry Tree of Peace” planted by the Dalai Lama and some contemporary installations.

The Rifugio delle MadonneAabbandonate (Shelter of the abandoned Madonnas) is a collection of sacred images that adorned the majesties of the country roads. Guerra imagined that the Madonnas, in order to protect themselves from the weather and human neglect, had flown away from their niches to find themselves all together.

The Strada delle Meridiane (Sundials Street) is located in the historic centre of the town, where the façades of some of the buildings are embellished with seven beautiful sundials. The sundials reproduce famous paintings and are a tribute to the different ways in which time has been measured over the centuries.

The Angel with a Moustache, in the Chiesa dei Caduti (Church of the Fallen), is an installation with a painting by the painter Luigi Poiaghi, inspired by a poem by Guerra dedicated to an angel who, instead of flying in the sky, came down to the Marecchia Valley, to a hunter’s house, to feed the stuffed birds that one day took flight.

Il Santuario dei Pensieri (Sanctuary of Thoughts), in the so-called Guasto Malatestiano, is an oriental garden enclosed by the walls of an ancient house that houses seven mysterious stone sculptures, defined by the poet as seven mute confessors waiting to hear our words.

Il Giardino pietrificato (The Petrified Garden), in the hamlet of Bascio, at the base of a mighty thousand-year-old tower, consists of seven ceramic carpets made by Giovanni Urbinati that bear the names of illustrious people who have passed through the Marecchia Valley.

Our Lady of the Snow, in the hamlet of Ca’ Romano, is a small eighteenth-century building reconstructed with the stones of an ancient oratory, immersed in the woods, which houses a Marian image made by the ceramist Muky in the place where, according to tradition, in the summer of 1754 Our Lady caused a snowfall to indicate the exact spot where the chapel should be erected.

Le Parole sui Muri (Words on the Walls), i.e. ceramic plaques designed by Tonino Guerra to commemorate well-known and lesser-known personalities who have contributed to the history of Pennabilli, through small biographies, complete the museum itinerary.