Italy, Mercogliano near Naples

I organised a castle festival in sunny Italy!

Workcamp: Mercogliano Castellarte

The story was written for us by Katarzyna Grobelna

Hi there!
My workcamp experience is not huge. I have been on short-term projects only three times, the last one two years ago. I had the opportunity to refresh my historical knowledge at the Lublin-Majdanek museum, to feel the cold and unusual in Estonia and to taste unearthly delicacies in Mercogliano, Italy. Each of the projects was unique, unusual and unrepeatable. However, I would like to describe the last of them. A solo trip by plane. Turbulence. Hustle and bustle at the airport. Sunny Italy. Mercogliano.

Was there anything more you needed? Sunshine, high temperatures, people from all over the world, delicious Italian food and an art festival. All this took place in a tiny village near Naples. This project is incredibly memorable for me. I have very good memories of it. The task of the volunteers was to take care of the historical area of Capocastello, prepare and help to organize the stages and other art installations that were needed during the Castellarte festival. During the day we worked outside. We washed, cleaned, dusted, painted and nailed to make sure everything was ready for the festival. The work was done in a nice, relaxed atmosphere. The three days of the festival can be described in words: harmony, music, crowd, concerts, acrobatics, performances, small stalls with hand-made products and Italian food.

I will never forget this place. It was there that I learnt the meaning of southern Italian hospitality. I had an opportunity to test myself as a cook for a larger group of people. I was a foreman-technician, a volunteer with enthusiasm for work, but most of all a traveller. This trip made me realise a lot. Among other things, it made me realise what travelling can give you. Getting to know a new place, people, cuisine, monuments and culture. Every day we lived in the scouts’ school. The school was divided into two big rooms depending on the decoration and paintings on the walls: “castle” and “jungle”. Following the principle of “a choice of colours”, everyone could choose the most convenient room for themselves. Apart from the work and the opportunity to participate in the festival, we had the chance to get to know the surrounding villages, the Italian festivities and games, listen to information about the mafia operating in the south, visit the Montevergine sanctuary, take a ride in a camion (on a float) feeling the wind in our hair, take part in a real Italian birthday party, visit the “municipal office”, the theatre, take part in an evening organised by the scouts and taste a real Neapolitan pizza.

Each of the workcamps was successful, and I have many memories of each one. One thing I can say is that I never regretted my decision to go on the project and that my adventure with volunteering is not over, as I am currently on a long-term project.

Short and honest: I recommend it to everyone!

The workcamp took place in 2012.