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Ethnographic Museum of Lunigiana
Photo © Sigeric SC
Photo © Sigeric SC

Ethnographic Museum of Lunigiana


Among the ancient mills to discover the peasant tradition

In Lunigiana, until a few decades ago, time was marked by the agricultural seasons and harvests: summer wheat, autumn chestnuts, winter sowing, spring flowering and so on, year after year.

In a rapidly evolving world, the testimonies of this past are collected in a museum dedicated to peasant civilization: the Ethnographic Museum of Lunigiana.

The Museum tells us about a world that now seems far and distant, but which is still alive in the tradition and memory of the Lunigiana people, with stories and anecdotes handed down over generations: an intangible heritage that deserves to be preserved.

Ancient mills

Ethnographic Museum of Lunigiana
Ethnographic Museum of Lunigiana - Credit: Sigeric SC

Located in the ancient mill on the outskirts of the village of Villafranca in Lunigiana, along Via Francigena, the Museum was established in 1977 thanks to the ethnographic and anthropological research of the "Manfredo Giuliani" Cultural Association which reconstructs daily life in Lunigiana, almost unchanged since the Middle Ages to the twentieth century.

In the past, the public mill was a community place for citizens: the structure, dating back to the 16th century, was used as a mill until the 1930s. The original water mills are still present, powered by the nearby Bagnone stream!

The three millstones, made with three different stones, were used to produce different flours: chestnuts were ground with the sandstone, corn was ground with the blue stone and wheat was ground with basalt.

The exhibition rooms

Bratto cradle
Bratto cradle - Credit: Ethnographic Museum of Lunigiana

Precisely from the ancient spaces of the mill comes the inspiration to tell the rituals and procedures linked not only to agriculture, from the environments dedicated to the drying of chestnuts, to the conservation of flour and the cuisine, but also linked to breeding, to the production of cheese, fishing and crafts.

By preserving and exhibiting apparently simple objects, used by farmers for ancient processes, the Museum today allows you to take a real journey through time and discover the era of fertility amulets, of the noisy objects used to call to Mass in Holy Week , the history of beech wood cradles, such as the famous Bratto cradle, the narration of the propitiatory "facion" (big faces) and scarecrows.

In addition to artisanal objects, we find domestic work associated with it: in the upper room a typical Lunigiana kitchen was reconstructed, but a large loom was also exhibited, with the ancient weaving patterns.

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