Rainer Kriester museum park in Vendone
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Comune di Vendone: via al Capoluogo, 1 - 17032 Vendone (SV)
Telefono: 0182 76 248
Fax: 0182 76 248
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Vendone is located halfway up the slope, on the hills immersed in the olives of the Albenga hinterland, along Valle Arroscia. It is a small municipality of about 500 inhabitants, and has nine hamlets.  In one of them, Castellaro, you can find the Parco Museale Rainer Kriester, a permanent open-air structure that exhibits more than 35 great works, made using stone from Finale, by the German sculptor who chose the Savona village as his main place of work for many years. From 2002, the year in which he died, he has been resting in its cemetery. The museum is run by the Foundation dedicated to him.

A little bit of history

Rainer Kriester was born in Plauen, East Germany in 1935 and he studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts of Berlin. In 1970 he presented his first exhibitions and began sculpting, creating his series of terracotta heads using strong glazes, and his first pieces in limestone rock and marble.

In 1982 he discovered the hill with an antique Saracen tower in Castellaro, Vendone, which for years was his main workplace.
In 1999 the Town council made him an "honorary citizen".
He died in May 2002 in Savona, and was put to rest in the Vendone cemetery, watched over by the splendid works in the nearby museum park dedicated to him.

The intervention

The interventions of the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of the ROP ERDF 2007-2013) are strategic for developing the museum structure, and answer the need to eliminate the conditions of neglect of the main tower, the existing secondary tower and the surrounding areas, which carefully need to be made safe in order to guarantee suitable usability levels. The interventions are also strategic for supporting the cultural activities promoted by the “Kriester Foundation”, currently penalised by the only partial accessibility of the area and the lack of infrastructures for parking.

The intervention covers areas in the hamlet of Castellaro, originally occupied in part by Castello dei Clavesana (Clavesana Castle), the most powerful fort in the whole valley. Some ruins of the walls still remain, as do the hexagonal main tower of 25 metres in height, which was probably used as a prison, and a secondary tower against a building positioned near the main road, made in a more recent period and used as an atelier by the sculptor.

Both the main and the secondary towers have greatly degenerated: some parts have crumbled, there is structural subsidence and the façades are damaged. The surrounding area, which is positioned on terracing, does not have suitable accommodation and lighting, which makes it impossible to use the area safely. There are also not enough services and parking spaces.

Restoring the two towers by strengthening the structural elements, recovering the façades and inserting a lighting system will make the building easier to visit, while repairing the entrances and the surrounding areas will guarantee entry also to the disabled.

The site to be developed is complementary to other infrastructures present in the district and its recovery will also help develop tourism in an area of great interest for its landscape, historical content, cultural content and food and wine.

Nearby

The outline of Castell'Ermo (1092 m.) dominates the landscape of the valley, and it is worth visiting for the view of the surrounding valleys, Albenga and a large stretch of the coast. The hamlets of Castellaro and Curenna are the most interesting historically and architecturally. The Fortezza di Castellaro (Castellaro fort), of notable size, was built by the Clavesana family and then passed to Albenga.

The building is curiously triangular shaped because it partly uses the shape of the rocky spur on which it was built. It has an impressive hexagonal great tower. Even the Castello di Curenna (Curenna castle), "Castrum Cucalariae", uses the natural harshness of the rocks on which it is built, in the same manner as the fort houses that can be found at the entrance of the Medieval village. The castle was fought over for a long time by the Clavesana family and the municipality of Albenga, and today is in a state of abandonment.

The other small hamlets of the municipality are ideal stopping places on a trail that blends history with nature and food and wine: the vines growing on the terracing are inside the Pigato and Vermentino doc area. Along the route to Castell'Ermo you will find the sanctuary dedicated to San Calocero who, according to tradition, suffered martyrdom near Albenga.

Oddities

The Municipality of Vendone is in the territory of “La strada del Vino e dell’Olio dalle Alpi al Mare” (The Wine and Oil road from the Alps to the Sea), a route that develops along a trail which, winding through the hinterland of western Liguria, connects the Alps with the sea.
It is a trail of great interest because of its landscape, history, culture and food and wine, and it crosses the numerous vineyards and olive groves on the terracing that is delimited by typical dry stone walls.

Growing grapes and olives has conditioned the landscape, life and work in these places for more than a thousand years. Do not miss the Museo dell'olio e della civiltà contadina (Museum of Oil and Rural Life) in Arnasco, a rural centre in the Albenga hinterland, which maintains the rural traditions of the area.

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