Suggestions for a holiday away from crowded beaches, not only in a geographical sense: Umbria - alternative - where the videomaker Alberto Brizioli guides us is inhabited by fantastic realities and inns with a rock flavor

Interni's summer 2023 special reaches the heart of Italy, Umbria: "a refuge, a gift, one of the most elusive regions, with uncertain borders" according to the opinion of Alberto Brizioli, a videomaker, who selected the 7 stages of our itinerary.

Read also: Summer 2023 in Italy: (well-kept) itineraries for art and design lovers

Who is Alberto Brizioli, our guide to Umbria?

Alberto Brizioli is a video maker from Perugia who today works between Rome and Perugia.

For several years, together with his brother Antonio, he has managed Edicola 518: a space dedicated to the cult of fine paper in the heart of Perugia. Edicola 518 was born in 2016 from the recovery of an old kiosk which today is entirely used for the sale of poetry books.

A few meters away, a space called Paradiso 518 hosts the best international magazines, artists' books, anarchist essays and the Emergenze Publishing editions (the publishing house of the project). Among the latter there is also a series of guides on the territory: Perugia Nascosta, Fuori dalle Righe and Hidden Umbria Nascosta.

The park and the imaginary city of Frigolandia

Frigolandia and its "Museum of Malvised Art", in Giano dell'Umbria, is a place that could be defined as utopian, but in reality it exists and can be visited: it is in Frigolandia, for example, that the story of the legendary Frigidaire magazine continues, housed in the main building since 1977.

What can you do in Frigolandia? First of all, visit the park, along which you can come across realities such as the Natural Theater of Oklahoma, inspired by the fantastic theater of the same name mentioned in the last chapter of Franz Kafka's novel America, the Casa degli Portlò, a building intended for guest citizens, or the M.A.M., the Museum and Laboratory of Maivista Art: "L'Arte Mai vista”, reads the original project, “is that unexpected, multiple, high, low, medium, pop and anti-pop art, invented and published - from 1977 onwards - by magazines such as Frigidaire, Cannibale, Il Male, Frìzzer, at the beginning original autonomous experiments and then becoming models of "other" communication due to the originality of their authors and collaborators.

The smallest exhibition space in the world

In Spoleto, near Porta Monterone, or Porta San Pietro, you come across the seventeenth-century façade of the tiny church of S. Maria del Pozzo, so called because it was built on a well fed by a vein of water traditionally considered curative for scabies, according to the testimony of the blacksmith active, up until a few years ago, in his workshop in front of the church.

The Madonna del Pozzo di Spoleto - Alberto Brizioli tells us - is the smallest exhibition space in the world, where the artist Franco Troiani rotates the work of a different artist every month or two, respecting an idea, perhaps even this rather utopian, of shared art.

Opus & Light is the project underway until August 1st which includes interventions by individual artists and cultural operators invited to deal with the specificity of the smallest museum in Umbria embellished with a cycle of frescoes that encompasses an entire century of the history of Italian painting (1493-1600).

Stories of women and an atelier

Returning to Perugia, in a timeless corner of the historic centre, the site of the hand weaving museum-laboratory opens Giuditta Brozzetti. In Umbria the tradition of weaving has very ancient roots, the so-called "pannili alla peroscina" were appreciated and marketed throughout Europe from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.

This art form survived thanks to women as a housewife habit in small villages and in the countryside of Perugia until the end of the nineteenth century, when some enlightened female personalities recovered it by opening the first school-workshops where many women regained their dignity, together with a new economic autonomy.

One of the leading personalities of the Perugian revival was Giuditta Brozzetti who in 1921 enrolled in the Chamber of Commerce starting this adventure, and still today, after four generations of women, the laboratory continues its history between conservation and experimentation.

In 1997 Marta, great-granddaughter of Giuditta, transferred the activity to the evocative premises of the former church of San Francesco delle Donne (13th century) and in 2004 the laboratory was included in the Museum System of the Umbria Region as a 'structure of interest for public use' thus becoming a museum-laboratory.

Creativity continues in the present

ITM - International Trademarks, a creative studio that denies the idea that communication agencies should be based in Milan, has its headquarters in an unexpected corner of the countryside of San Giustino (PG)... and also produces an excellent beer (Altotevere beer).

Born in 2018, today ITM is also a co-working space with 9 workstations divided into 300 square meters of sets for still life images, direct web, photographic limbo. The agency's portfolio is varied and made up of clients operating in the beauty, fashion, hotel, food & beverage and events industries.

Today ITM has 7 employees including photographers, videomakers, graphic & web designers, as well as various collaborators, freelancers, friends.

A tavern in a multi-ethnic neighborhood

In 2017 Raffaella and Maurizio, both with experiences in various Italian cities in the world of cultural heritage, decided to take a new professional path with the opening of the bistro Sud Osteria Popolare.

“After much thought and much touring - says Raffaella - we chose an abandoned place, in a popular block, in the historic core of a populous and multi-ethnic neighborhood, at the time in serious social decay and absolutely peripheral with respect to the cultural consumption of the city and today, after many efforts, in a strong revival.

Marco Fagioli, with the Zup Design studio, was able to perfectly interpret our needs and gave life to a small, very small environment, multiplying its space to accommodate the thousand objects and the thousand stories we wanted to tell.

With a few essential signs and basic materials - wood, iron and concrete - he has created a welcoming and intimate place, far from fashions, which focuses on craftsmanship, the concept on which our entire project is based."

Hospitality and ethno-culinary research

It is a life and family project that the Locanda Stella, in Perugia continues with love. From the restaurant managed by Luisa Stella and from the hotel business inaugurated in the 1980s, today the reins of the inn are in the hands of Silvia, daughter of Luisa, and her husband Arek of Polish origin.

Both Germanists, in 1998 they decided to settle in Umbria to devote themselves with dedication and meticulousness to the family restaurant. Since 2004, the chef Nicola Passarelli has completed the brigade, making his fundamental contribution in terms of traditional research and innovation.

It was in 2016 that the project was completed in the hospitality offer: the small family-run hotel in fact gave way to seven rooms, one different from the other, the result of a common 'feeling': the colors are those of the Umbrian land, its woods and its hills, the simple and resistant materials, often obtained from ancient objects of use, such as pipes, hats, old barrels, fabrics, the result of the work of craftsmen, second-hand dealers and artists.