In one of the valleys of Positano, which is a village along the Amalfi Coast, there is a hidden nearly untouched piece of paradise on earth. Here, protected by 300 meter high cliffs, animals and plants can flourish almost without the interruption of human beings.
This place is as valuable as a chamber of gold for the nature because of its rich biodiversity, and here one of the most diverse flora and fauna of Italy can be found. The valley, even though the area is not that big, has one part where Mediterranean species thrives and one more humid part with a waterfall and a small river where other kinds of species flourish.
The valley is a wild green place where the nature is always present and when you enter the place you can feel the power and the peacefulness of the nature at the same time.
Here in the middle of this very special place, Gianni Menichetti lives together with his family of animals. Gianni is an artist, poet and philosopher who has lived in the valley for more than 40 years.
Gianni moved to the valley when he was only 18 years old, at this point the famous artist and dancer Vali Mayers had already been living in there for 13 years. Vali lived there together with around 100 animals that she took care of. Gianni and Vali fell in love and Vali taught Gianni about the life and the animals of the valley, from her Gianni also learned English and his interest of poetry, songs and literature grew stronger.
Ganni and Vali stayed many years together in the valley where they minds could be free and their art could be created in togetherness with the nature. Vali lived in the Valley from 1958 but in her later years she moved back to the country where she was born, Australia, and she just came back to visit her beloved homein Italy occasionally, the latest time in 2002 and she passed away one year later in Australia. After Vali had moved back to Australia Gianni stayed in the valley to take care of the animals and to protect this special place.
Gianni loves the valley more than he loves his life itself. Gianni is living a minimalistic life in symbiosis with the nature, as he are not using any electricity and only use water from natural resources. Gianni knows about almost all the different species that grows or lives in the valley and he has spent many hours of his life studying and observing the animals and plants of the area. He is very proud of the nature’s richness of species in the Valley and he is striving to keep this hidden, amazing place away from human developers.
The road up to his home is steep, almost impenetrable and sometimes dangerous but he does not want to build any stairs or steps to make the road more comfortable or more easily accessible. Gianni makes it clear that the valley is at first place for the nature and they want to disturb it as little as possible.
To keep the place undisturbed is not easy, Gianni wants to keep the place unique for the nature’s sake, and it has been and it still is one of his greatest challenges in life.
If you want to hear Gianni himself talk about his life in the valley you can visit his exhibition in Positano, where he shows paintings of animals that have been part of his family or a part of the valley during the years. The exhibition is dedicated to the tortoise Winnie who have been living in the valley for more then 100 years.
Written by:Isa Wästlund