art workshop for Franco Pagliarulo

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Sgraffiti in Casoli is an artistic event born in Casoli in 2006; every year it takes place the last weekend of May. It is the promoted by Casoli Villager Committee in collaboration with the municipality of Camaiore. In extemporaneous graffiti on the walls are realized and crafted in the small village in homage to the artist Murabito that here lived and worked. He was the first artist who made a  graffiti on the village square ( photo on the right). This initiative aroused the interest and willingness of many people and paints with style and poetry this delightful little town that itself is a jewel of nature. The first editions of this event have seen both schools and art professionals. Now the call is open only to professional artists whose selection takes place through an annual competition.

This decision arose from the need to elevate the quality (sadly lacking in public art schools) of the  works to better promote Casoli in art, culture and tourism, making it a unique village.

Here’s how here began and continue my active participation: in 2007 during the second edition of the event “a graffito for friends” I made two free graffiti as a gift to Casoli, a town which I’m fond of.

In 2008 the village Committee, which handles the event, commissioned the graffiti to the sink for a fee. After that in 2009, there was the Commission of s. Rocco on the façade of the

Church and then I was given the task of art curator when handling the event. Through a competition  three artists are chosen and each one is given a fee of 1000 euros, including the curator, who in addition to treating the event makes a graffiti. From 2011 during the days prior to the event, an internship is made to teach the “a fresco” sgraffito technique.

Franco Pagliarulo ( artistic curator )





‘Graffiti at Casoli’ is an event which, launched in 2006, takes place annually during the last weekend of May when ‘graffiti’ are chiselled out using  traditional techniques on suitable walls at various points within the village, all done in homage to the artist Rosario Murabito who lived and worked at Casoli. It was he who carried out the first ‘graffito’ which can be seen in the main square. The event, which has captivated many and evokes a desire to take part, perfectly reflects with style and poetry this charming village which is itself a joy of nature.


In the early years of the event, art schools as well as professional artists took part. Now, instead, participation is restricted to paid professional artists who are selected by means of an annual announcement of the competition. This change came out of the need to raise the qualitative level of the work, the better to promote Casoli as both an artistic and tourist destination, making it unique of its type.


 With this new prospectus the Village Committee, since 2009, has invested Franco Pagliarulo with the task of artistic curator. ‘Graffiti at Casoli’ is organised by the Village Committee in partnership with the Municipality of Camaiore.

The main aims are:

to promote cultural tourism in the area,

to promote and recover the art of traditional ‘graffito’.


During the weekend of the event a workshop will be held for anyone interested in learning the technique. 

What is ‘Graffito’?


Traditional “graffito” is an ancient artistic technique, most commonly employed in the decoration of mansions and palaces.

During the Renaissance, Italian artists re-discovered Greek-Roman know-how, and halfway through the sixteenth century the technique was described by Giorgio Vasari in his  “Introduction to the Art of Drawing”:

“they take lime mixed with sand, ordinarily, and with singed straw they stain it a dark colour …and with this they plaster the facade. Having done this, it is brushed over with a wash made with ground white travertine, they white-wash over everything: after whitening they sprinkle finely-ground charcoal on their cartoons……; and then, scratching with a tool, they outline and sketch in the drawing….  being black underneath and white on top, it  shows all the markings made by the tool, and like the marks of the drawing… which from a distance makes a beautiful appearance…and this is the work that being scratched by a tool, the artists called “sgraffito”(scratched). Of this type grotesques, ornaments and decoration… being water resistant…are made in the same way as frescoes…..” The facade of the palace dei Cavalieri (the Knights of St. Stephen) in Pisa was executed by Vasari in 1562.


From the mid’ nineteenth century through to the first half of the twentieth, the technique was revived and updated in keeping with new aesthetic movements such as Art Nouveau and Liberty. Later on, other variants were added such as the application of “graffito” to dry plaster.


Following the classical method, “graffito” is made on wet plaster, a technique very similar to fresco. The work is carried out in the following steps:

  1. on a layer of rough plastering, a smoother coat of plaster is applied, being a mix of sand and slaked lime mixed with earth pigments in powder form(usually black or red, but other colours are acceptable);
  2. two or three coats of lime-wash are give;
  3. transfer of the design to the surface: a sheet of paper on which the outline of the full-size design has been pricked out, somewhat like a dot-to-dot puzzle, is affixed temporarily to the working surface and finely-ground charcoal is dusted over it leaving an impression of the outline on the moist plaster;
  4. as soon as the plaster begins to dry, using variously shaped tools, the design is scratched out on the surface leaving the underlying darker colour exposed.


As is the case with fresco work, the four steps have to be completed in one day. For larger areas, the work is divided into ‘days’, plastering one portion at a time.