Marcello Moscara – Learned Donkeys. Walking along the Via Francigena

A 200 km long performance, the story of a journey, both real and symbolic, of regeneration, between music and literature, with a donkey as a guide and travel companion: in the photographs by Marcello Moscara, the project’s creator, the experience of reportage initiated in Puglia by De Martino and Franco Pinna is renewed and brought into contemporary relevance.

Inauguration: May 3rd at 6 PM

The photographic exhibition “Learned Donkeys. Walking along the Via Francigena,” a project by Marcello Moscara, will open on May 3 at 6 PM and run until June 30, 2024. The exhibition, curated by Carmelo Cipriani, is hosted in the basement of the Pino Palscali Foundation in Polignano a Mare, and is promoted by the Puglia Region and Teatro Pubblico Pugliese (Custodiamo la Cultura in Puglia, PACT Special Fund for Culture and Cultural Heritage L.R. 40 art. 15 paragraph 3 – We Invest in Your Future).


On May 19, 2021, just emerging from the pandemic experience, an unusual group sets off determined to walk the last stretch of an ancient route, accompanied by a donkey. The path is the Via Francigena. The group includes two musicians (Enza Pagliara and Dario Muci), a photographer (Marcello Moscara), two filmmakers (Francesco De Giorgi and Giovanni Iavarone), a donkey (Bartolo), and its young keeper (Martino Genchi). The group stages a 200 km long artistic action, a journey to tell their stories, each through their own language and history, in a shared idea of regeneration. “The choice of the stretch of road to walk is not random. This heritage we carry with us is the living and sensitive matter of the journey. Balancing between past and future, we are every day new with stories and encounters. A coal plant glimpsed just after emerging from an oak forest, passing through olive groves devastated by Xylella. A resistance, a revolution of the gaze,” explains Moscara. From this journey, a photographic book and a documentary film with its soundtrack were born.


The story of this journey, recounted in a photographic book (Marcello Moscara, Learned Donkeys, with a text by Goffredo Fofi, Moscara Associati ed. 2023), inspired this exhibition. 50 photographs by Marcello Moscara are accompanied by texts from Roberto Mutti (photographic critic) and Raffaele Gorgoni (writer). In the exhibition, an installation (a large book handmade by the author) titled “The Upside-Downs of a Symbol and the Coincidence of Opposites” offers visitors a full-immersion into the adventurous symbolic history of the donkey through different civilizations and cultures. An original design work, for the historical and iconographic research, the author collaborated with art historian Titti Pece. A story within a story: with the gaze and the stories moving and coming together like a collage: from Apuleius to Collodi, from the Sumerians and ancient Egypt to Giordano Bruno’s Kabbalah of the Donkey, from Machiavelli to Prévert, from Romanesque cathedrals to Nietzsche and Fabrizio De Andrè. All to pose a question today: what is asinine nature?

Marcello Moscara
Learned Donkeys. Walking along the Via Francigena
Curated by Carmelo Cipriani
Opening: May 3rd at 6 PM
From May 3rd to 30th June
Pino Pascali Foundation
Via Parco del Lauro 119
Polignano a Mare