Annual artist contest in the lovely village of Sassetta, Tuscany - August 2015
My mural was inspired by the medieval legend of Giovanni Orsini from the Orlandi Family, who once ruled the whole area.
Sassetta may today be a quiet hill top town, surrounded by woodland along a road you have to deliberately choose to take to reach it. But its middle ages rulers were anything but quiet :)
The Orsini Lords of Sassetta
Originating from the Orlandi Pellari branch of the Orsini family in Pisa, these men had an unbroken and powerful ancestry that went way back.
Lord Giovanni Orsini - known simply as "Nanni" - is the most prominet of them all. According to legend, he slayed a dragon in 1109. But not just any dragon, a serpent-looking, sulphur spitting one, that lived around Sassetta attacking and eating the locals.
Sassetta is located in Maremma's Mediterranean and forest covered "colline metallifere" - metalliferous hills. Hills that are heated by a magma mass about 5 to 10 kilometres below your feet. Home to wondrous solfataras, fulmaroles and gurgling splitter-splatting mud pools. Wonderfully warm thermal springs. And snakes. And lizards.
It isn't hard to imagine that a long and fat viper warming itself alongside a steaming and spitting solfatara might kick-start a panic in town. And become its "dragon".
Here's why the dragon - or rather a large viper - stays today on the Sassetta coat of arms.
The mural represents Giovanni Orlandi as a knight defeating the dragon. It also includes a brief description of the legendary event that happened in 1109. Located in front of the church of Sant'Andrea in Sassetta, right in the upper central square of the village, the mural measures approximately 3.5 meters W x 3 meters H.