Brolo, hamlet of Nonio, in Piemonte, is known as the land of cats. Along its streets you can meet numerous free cats, which are looked after and cared for by the locals. Furthermore, several paintings depicting the beloved felines appear on the roofs and walls of the houses.
In short, everything here is inspired by these noble and enigmatic creatures. The place, ideal for cat lovers from all over the world, is visited above all by families with children who, curious and fascinated, stop to watch and caress the beloved felines. But why is Brolo the town of cats? A curious legend explains it to us, which we will tell you about.
It all began in 1756
Brolo is a small village of only 357 inhabitants overlooking the lake Orta. The reason why it is known as the town of cats is linked to an old story, which began on 10 October 1756. That day, during a session of the community council, the city of Brolo asked the town of Nonio to separate at the level ecclesiastic from the Parish of San Biagio because to reach it, the inhabitants were forced to cross a river subject to floods. Brolo stated that he would independently furnish and manage the church of Sant'Antonio Abate.
Faced with the skepticism of the inhabitants of Nonio, they began to say: "When the Brol parish comes, at the end it will meet ul friol", or “When there is a parish in Brolo, the mouse will put on its cloak”. The citizens of Brolo took the matter seriously and, like cats, chased away all the mice, that is, the inhabitants of Nonio, from the town. It was April 27, 1767 and outside the church they hung a mouse with a cloak. Their new motto became: “The parish was created in Brolo and the rat put on his cloak”. The new parish was that of Sant'Antonio Abate. From that moment on, the citizens of Brolo used the cat as a symbol to give an identity to their village.
Cats, protagonists in the alleys
Brolo is a destination for numerous visitors, who arrive throughout the year. Here, the entry and exit signs depict cats, as do the paintings on the facades of the houses and the walls, the murals and the reinterpretations of works of art by well-known painters. Real cats then make their appearance emerging from alleys, windows and windowsills, to the delight of children and all cat lovers.
On the main road, positioned on a flowerbed, stands a small monument depicting a cat, created in 2006 to identify the village. There is also the Strescia dal Gat, a pedestrian street entirely dedicated to cats, as well as numerous signs and concrete "panettone" featuring feline depictions.
(Photo: Brolo, the country of cats, Facebook page)