The Casentino Valley is a kaleidoscope of colors and natural beauty, part of which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to forests, there is an area rich in art, monuments, science and crafts. Here, we present 5 Casentino museums where you can discover the past and present of a land rich in tradition.
Built inside a former woollen mill, the Museum of the Art of Wool tells the story of what was and still is one of the most important activities in Casentino. Inside, it's possible to visit the machinery to see how the various fabrics were made, as well as enjoying a sensory experience of fibers and materials, getting to touch, smell and try firsthand the timeless manual artistic practices.
Not exactly a museum, although inside we find important works and exhibitions. This is perhaps the most important structure in the whole valley, or at least the most iconic. Founded by the noble family of the Guidi Counts, Poppi Castle is mentioned in documents as early as 1191. Its courtyard is a triumphant display of coats of arms, while the intertwining stone stairs takes us almost inside an Escher work. Don't miss the library, with its 25,000 historic volumes, the colorful ballroom and the chapel with frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi, a pupil of Giotto. If you're not easily tired, you can also climb to the top of the tower, you will be rewarded by an absolutely breathtaking panoramic view!
The Pietro Albertoni Archaeological Museum traces the history of the valley from the Paleolithic to the late Roman age. The first rooms are dedicated to the life of prehistoric man where it's possible both to observe original finds and their replicas. We then move to the rooms dedicated to the Etruscans, the real stars of the museum. You can find the exhibition dedicated to the beautiful bronzes of the Lake of Idols, a lake in the upper Casentino considered at the time as a real sanctuary. Finally, we look at the Roman age in the last rooms with many finds related to the preparation of food, an intinerary that makes us look at everyday life with completely different eyes.
Created by the FIAF (Italian Federation of Photographic Associations), one of the most important photographic associations at a national level, the Italian Center of Photography (Centro Italiano della fotografia d'autore) is the promoter of numerous cultural activities, first of all the enhancement of Italian photography starting after the Second World War. In addition to conserving, cataloging and re-proposing its photographic heritage to the public, CIFA is the venue for meetings, conferences and major exhibitions. A must-see is the open-air gallery where the art of photography will accompany you to the characteristic village of the town of Bibbiena.
The only permanent planetarium in the area, the Park Planetarium reconstructs the celestial sky indoors with a special dome, as we would see it outdoors in a place far away from the distracting lights of the cities. Play with the celestial sphere and simulate space-time movements to discover the northern sky in the various seasons. You can recognize the constellations, the motions of stars, Moon, Sun and planets and you can learn to orient yourself. Outside, it's possible to directly observe the sky both with the naked eye and with the supplied telescopes, experiencing a real journey between stars and planets.