The legend of the angel with a mustache

“The Places of the soul”:
The Angel with a mustache.

There was an angel with a mustache
who was unable to do anything
and instead of flying around the Lord
he used to come down to the Marecchia
inside a hunter's house
who kept some stuffed birds
standing on the floor of a large room.
And the angel threw them the corn
to see if they would eat it.
And come on, and come on
with all the saints laughing at his mistakes
one morning the stuffed birds
spread their wings
and took off
flew out of the windows into the air of the sky
and sang like never before.
(Tonino Guerra)


Pennabilli is a hamlet in the upper Val Marecchia. Its original structure with a medieval layout has been for the most part preserved and houses the smallest museum in the world. In fact, in the small church of the Fallen there is the smallest, emptiest museum in the world where there is only one painting, created by Luigi Poiaghi inspired by Guerra’s verses.

It represents the Angel ''who was unable to do anything'', telling us how a dream, believed by all to be impossible, came true. The story represented in this divine messenger is different from the classic iconography as it is so very similar to human beings, inviting us to pursue all our ''unattainable desires''.

The work, located behind a grating, is surrounded by stuffed birds that begin to chirp as visitors arrive. The simplicity and poverty of the place represents the ingenuity and tenacity with which the protagonist has achieved his goal.