Perugia is one of the most beautiful old towns in Italy. Around the main church are visible signs of its historical heritage. Near the central square, there is a small street where a group of friends have decided to fight against urban decay. This is the story of “Via della Viola” (Violet Street), a place where art has won over the dereliction.
Violet Street has been a vibrant part of Perugia’s city centre for years. It used to be the link between the main hospital and the old town. Many artisans had their workshops in this key city zone. After the hospital was moved to another part of the town, the decline started. People did not use the street anymore and the shops shut down. As a result, Violet Street was abandoned, the former shops were used as dump sites and serious problems of delinquency emerged.
In 2012, in order to find a solution for the urban deterioration of Violet Street, a group of friends, and former students at the local university, founded an association for the aggregation of citizens motivated by the need of revitalization of their area. The name is “Fiorivano le viole” (Blooming violets). Many people brought about their ideas, correlated to the life on the street, the history of place. With a working-group mind set, they found alternative solutions and a widespread involvement in redevelopment activities. After the first meetings, the citizens decided to promote a requalification of some of the abandoned spaces through the work of local artists.
During the years, different calls for action to local artists brought new forces and activities into the street. The creatives were involved in order to shape a new, fashion image of Violet Street. The association also organises an annual festival of buskers and other cultural events. These actions have been successful in saving Violet Street. After four years, this street has a new appeal.
ALCHEMIKA is the annual art festival on Violet Street.
If you walk down Violet Street, you find restaurants, lounge bars and a cinema d’essay. The great work of this association is widely recognised by the community. The street has now its own spirit and people feel safer walking along this part of Perugia. The citizens’ engagement is steady and everyone can bring up his/her idea or proposal.