This is a feline story that really happened in the streets of a small, beautiful Italian village, Cartoceto. I hope that cat and children lovers will get some inspiration from it. It all started with a walk. My friend Michele Ferri and I had not any particular destination, we just enjoyed walking and looking around. This attitude, between curiosity and the pleasure of idleness, already began to tune ourselves into the silent inhabitants of those beautiful courtyards. In fact, after a few steps, a pair of mustaches and two luminous eyes appeared out of nowhere. Then many others continued to appear one after one, inside a vase, on the windowsills, in the middle of a street, on doormats. “Okay guys, you can go through our kingdom on this one, but without disturbing too much please.”
They must have whispered something to us in the telepathic language of cats, because at the end of the walk, during a coffee-break in the square of the village, a bizarre feline idea was born. After about one year, that idea became real for a day, when the village turned into a surprise journey full of plays, games, music, exhibitions, events… Obviously all cat-inspired.
Rare feline specimens looked out of the windows. One of them, an aristocratic lady-cat with lace gloves, used to open the shutters as she heard a good song. So the courtyard under the window was full of musical instruments, and a music master improvised some serenades with occasional passers-by.
The Meows Parc was guarded by ten Swinging Cats. These wary guardians oscillated in all directions without ever falling, but trying to get in the way of everyone who passed by. Be careful not to get touched by them!
At some point during the walk, one inevitably came across Mr. Hurry’s house. After the bell ring, here he is hastily looking out from his terrace to tell very short stories of ancient and legendary cats.
Heads of all colors, striped, checkered or polka-dot legs, furry bellies, zig zag mustache… The Transformist Cube-cats could be broken down and reassembled in hundreds feline identities.
While wearing mouse ears, children went through the cheese-tunnel, making sure that “cat-children” didn’t steal their tails through the holes.
Involving local shopkeepers and artisans, all the stands of the feline market were strictly themed: books, biscuits, t-shirts, ceramics, puppets.
Finally, the notorious Red Grinning Cat suddenly appeared during the night, just as the band was playing the march “At a Cat’s Pace”. Don’t panic: the Mad Tamer was fortunately around. He was the only one that could successfully try to domesticate a Red Grinning specimen, for his great experience of imaginary animals.
Even if every project is carried out by a group of people, I usually let things speak for themselves without mentioning names. However, this was a special experience, a really collective and site-specific event. So many thanks to all the people who made it possible:
- Michele Ferri, co-author of the project, from the first inspiring walk to every final detail
- My father Aldo Pucci, for his indispensable technical support
- Olga Valeri for believing in this crazy idea
- Mario Mariani for the original musical piece “At a Cat’s Pace” and the band of Cartoceto for having masterfully performed it
- The Caffè Massimo for the delicious MadCat biscuits
- All friends, villagers, actors and artists who made their great contribution for free
- All the cats of the village, who were watching us from hiding places. “Ok, go ahead, today you can stay in our kingdom… But tomorrow everything comes back how it was before.” Thank you, Your Majesty.