At the border between Italy and France, in the Natural Park of the Maritime Alps, surrounded by trees, streams and lakes, you’ll find Vernante. This small village is in the province of Cuneo, known all over the world as “the village of Pinocchio”. Within the charming village walls, more than 150 murals illustrate the adventures of the famous wooden puppet.
Attilio Mussino, the Illustrator
Attilio Mussino, also known as “Pinocchio’s uncle”, illustrated the first edition of Collodi’s work. He moved to Vernante after the loss of his son and his wife, and he stayed there until he died. In 1954, Bruno Carlet and Meo Cavallera decided to honor Mussino’s work by painting some of his illustrations on the walls of the houses in the old town center.
Year after year, the number of murals has multiplied, exceeding 150, creating a truly charming atmosphere. Walking through the streets of the center, in fact, you can “meet” all the characters of Collodi’s tale: Geppetto, the Fox and the Cat, the terrible Dogfish, the Blue Fairy, Mangiafuoco and many others.
The Attilio Mussino Museum
An entire museum has also been dedicated to Attilio Mussino, where you’ll find the first illustrated edition of Pinocchio from 1911, the book with the animated pages of 1942, and 33 illustrated tables of the last edition that appeared in Il Giornalino in 1952.
In addition to visiting the village, if you don’t mind walking, I suggest you visit the castle of Tourusela, a medieval castle built between 1275 and 1280. The panoramic route has a lovely view of the village and the mountains. Vernante is actually located within the Maritime Alps Natural Park where there are numerous hiking trails, lakes, and rivers to explore.
In conclusion, if the fairy tale of Pinocchio holds a special place in your heart, then this beautiful village is a must-see.
Vernante is easily reachable by car. At the entrance of the village, there are ample parking spaces for cars and parking areas for campers.
It is also possible to reach Vernante on the Turin – Cuneo – Ventimiglia – Nice railway line.
You may also want to read about Collodi, Tuscany and its Pinocchio Park
Article written by: E. Mencarelli