Friday, 19 January 2018

Mysterious presence of Moai in Tuscia

Peperino was used for centuries by Vitorchiano’s builders.
Vitorchiano . medieval village near Rome
Moai Sculpture in Central Italy
monolithic sculptur created on Easter Islands
The Vitorchiano's         
In the heart of the Lazio Mountains, barely an hour from Rome, lies a medieval village. Its stone houses cling to the side of gorge, spreading across the rock face like a tamed, civilized extension of the mountain itself. Thick outer walls lend the look of the fortress.
Inside , there are quiet squares, silent churches, cobbled streets: the very image of a gorgeous Italian

To get there , you have to trek along the side of the Cimini Mountains, where you can admire olive trees, pine trees and an imposing Moai statue.  Hold on !Rewind a second. What on earth is a monolithic sculpture by the Rapa Nui doing in a medieval Italian village ? Let’s discover the enigma !

The Moai are mysterious sculptures believed to possess magical powers. They were created on Easter Islands between 700 A.D. and 1600 A.D. as burial monuments, it is thought. By the 1990s, almost 900 different statues had been registered. But from that time onward, another example, located in a small Italian village, had to be added to the list. And it’s the only Moai sculpture anywhere outside Easter Island.

Its story begins in 1989, when a delegation of 12 Rapa Nui people from the Atan family , the island’s nobility, travelled to Vitorchiano to celebrate the twinning of this village with Easter Island. Their motive wasn’t so much to discover new cultures but to preserve their own: they needed to finance restoration work on their sculptures , some of each was in a dire state of repair. The unusual group visited the village and, quite unexpectedly, found something in common with their home. It was a volcanic rock that goes by the name of peperino.  It’s really hard on the outside  and soft inside , which make sit perfect for carving and ideal to stand  erosion over time.

Peperino was used for centuries by Vitorchiano’s builders.
In the Antient Rome : the cloaca Maxima, the base of the Castel Sant’Angelo.
What nobody knews was that this material is incredibly similar to the rock used 14,000km away  to create some of the most famous sculptures in the world.

In December 1989 , for a month, a group of visitors, the Rapa Nui people from the most isolated spot on the planet, stayed in the village  and moved into the village while a TV crew got the whole of Italy watching.
A film crew from Alla Ricerca dell’Arca, a programme of Italian public television shared experience and cultural exchange between two completely different communities.

The sculpture came came along at a lively pace despite its dimensions: 6 metres in height and weighs 30 tonnes. When they finished the colossus, it was transported  by crane to the village’s  main square and inaugurated with an atypical ceremony. The celebrations drew on Rapa Nui customs, complete with ancient rites and ceremonies from the island.

In 2008 the statue was temporarily relocated. It never returned to its original site.  After this event, Vitorchiano returned to be just as calm , peaceful  and perfectly alive, as ever. And life in this village goes on , under the attentive gaze of the last Moai.

Discover medieval villages and sculpture Moai
Accomodation in the apartments of Villa la Paiola
just a few minutes by car from Vitorchiano's Moai

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