How does a Swiss come to discover Italy? For Matthias it happened in the most traditional way, doing the service of the Swiss Guards for the pope in 1978.
And once he arrived in Rome, Matthias fell in love with this city that exudes art in every corner and never wanted to leave it. In reality, his roots are Slovenian-Swiss and perhaps Slovenia has given him that more sly side which since 1980 has transformed him into an artist while the Swiss side has brought him closer to metaphysics.
And once again his life seems like a nineteenth-century novel when Matthias moves to Santa Maria di Galeria, near Lake Bracciano, as painter of the Marquise del Gallo. He lived in the caretaker's house and began to be a painter as a profession. And meanwhile the beauty of the Roman countryside enraptures him completely.
Oriana's parents, on the other hand, are from Rocca Santo Stefano, and his life takes place above all in Rome but always in art. She is a sculptor and a professor at the Accademia Belle Arti, where she teaches sculpture and is constantly in contact with young artists from all over the world.
Oriana and Matthias meet in a market in Campagnano Romano, then they meet again in art exhibitions and then they never get lost again: they have been married for 23 years.
Their union is consolidated with the work of setting up the new Regina Pacis church in Anguillara Sabazia for the Jubilee of 2000. In their works, Matthias above all cultivates the metaphysical side while Oriana lets herself be inspired by nature and we can define her as an organic sculptor.
Together they become the ambassadors of Roman travertine, which is extracted in the nearby quarries of Tivoli and Guidonia also in the Aniene Valley, and they undertake an exciting challenge: to bring art back to the small towns of the Aniene Valley and populate them with young artists .
If you arrive at Rocca Santo Stefano from Bellegra, just outside the town in a small square in the middle of the woods, you immediately notice a large travertine sculpture, a tribute to the ancient craft of coopers: Antera, the Cooper's door. One of their works destined to enrich the cultural offer of the village and to contaminate the past, present and future.
The chestnut woods of Rocca Santo Stefano were not for fruit but for producing timber that was used in construction and also for making barrels for wine. When we went to meet the mayor Sandro Runieri for the Town Ambassador project of the Metropolitan Area of Rome, he really illustrated to us the recovery of the knowledge of these works that seem ancient but are also modern. Italian wine is going through a magical moment and various producers are experimenting with the scents of the area, and therefore with chestnut barrels.
Together with Elvio Colanera and Francesca Impei, the mayor immediately thought of this couple of artists who have already spent themselves on the cultural, and then also touristic, growth of Rocca Santo Stefano. Oriana and Matthias have already organized symposiums and brought artists, such as Solmaz Vikachi, who have left sculptures that recall the old crafts of the Aniene Valley in the squares and viewpoints of Rocca Santo Stefano.
Oriana and Matthias are now renovating the old family home to transform it into a residence and be able to host groups of young artists more frequently. With her work, Oriana is always surrounded by young people who want to experiment and find their expressive language in art and a stay in a historic village like this can be inspiring.
Chinese who was interested in horses. We had participated in a tender together, which we had not won,
I had met Oriana by telephone a couple of years ago thanks to a Chinese artist with whom we had done an Italian-Chinese project on horses, we had participated in a tender together, unfortunately not won, but it allowed us to get to know each other, and I was surprised of his activism towards young people from all over the world.
I think Rocca Santo Stefano could not have made a better choice for its Town Ambassador and I think Oriana and Matthias will be able to communicate the beauties and opportunities of the village in an artistic and original way as they are.