In the heart of the Olona valley, in the province of Varese, the small centre of Olgiate Olona guards a treasure for children of all ages: a series of paintings realized in tempera by Antonio Rubino in 1939. Rubino was one of the founder of the Corriere dei Piccoli, a weekly magazine for which he drew for great part of his career; he is the dad of numerous protagonists of the stories that fostered the little readers’ fantasy for eight decades.
In the Villa Gonzaga of Olgiate Olona, a family of benefactors called the illustrator to decorate the dining hall for the children who stayed at the Opai (an institute for the prevention of tuberculosis in children). To gladden their stay, away from their nearest and dearest, and to make lunch and dinner more pleasant, Rubino populated the walls of the dining hall with characters of the most famous fairy tales together with other fantastic ones. Therefore, children could find among these characters their favourite one, the loyal companion who waited for them and who smiled on the wall. Here is the wolf that, instead of scaring Little Red Riding Hood, asks her bashfully a piece of bread. Here is the green dragon who is taking care of cooking with its blaze the roast chestnuts for the knight who doesn’t even want to challenge him. And then, toys which come alive to have fun, a bizarre trip around the world guided by a kid with a bowler and his snake, an Eskimo with an ice cream, coloured flowers, object with human features. Today the series of temperas of Villa Gonzaga has returned to its splendour thanks to the recovery made by the local government and the passion of the architect Paolo Maccabei.
Locus Solus means "solitary place", unknown to most, out of the routes and maps. This column is dedicated to all italian village lovers, in fact here the "journalists" are you readers. If you have one "Locus Solus" to report, send a text of 1500/2000 beats and some photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.