Visiting an ecomuseum in Tuscany means immersing ourselves in the history of the local communities that, throughout the centuries, have inhabited (and enjoyed) the region’s beloved natural wonders, from the Casentino area to the Valdorcia, not to mention the Pistoia Mountains, the Chianti, the Valdichiana, and so on.
In this post we’ve put together the top ecomuseums you should definitely add to your must-see list. Get ready to experience Tuscany through some of the most off the beaten track itineraries.
Casentino Ecomuseum (Arezzo area)
The “Ecomuseo del Casentino”, set in a vast area north of Arezzo, gathers, among other things, archaeological sites and local and craft traditions, pointing out nature’s peculiarities in the area. The museum encompasses six different theme-based routes: water, archaeology, woods, castle civilization, manufacturing, agriculture and farming.
Let us give you a little advice: make sure you don’t miss the Castle of Poppi, the Chestnut Museum in Raggiolo, and the Museum of Gunpowder and Smuggling in Chitignano. Check out the official website of the Casentino Ecomuseum for the opening times of the various branches.
Pistoia Mountains Ecomuseum (Pistoia area)
The “Ecomuseo della Montagna Pistoiese” features itineraries, museums, learning centres and historical artifacts that guide us in understanding the relationship between the locals and the environment. Across the centuries, water, stones and wood provided raw materials and energy, progressively simplifying the creation and use of innovative machinery, such as ironworks, ice-houses and mills.
Similarly to the one in Casentino, the Pistoia Mountains Ecomuseum offers six outdoor theme-based routes: ice, iron, sacred art, everyday life, nature trail and stone. Some tips: the Museum and educational garden of the iron trail in Pontepetri, the Botanical and forest garden of Abetone and Palazzo Achilli in Gavinana in are definitely some of the must sees. Lastly, let’s not forget the Ironworks Suspension Bridge, the Castruccio Bridge, and the Stars Park, which we talked about in our article “4 things not to miss in the Pistoia mountains”. Learn more on the website of the Ecomuseum.
Ecomuseum of Alabaster between Volterra, Castellina Marittima and Santa Luce (Pisa area)
The Alabaster Ecomuseum links together three towns whose fortunes have been historically tied to the alabaster craft: Castellina Marittima, Santa Luce and Volterra (as you may already know, the precious mineral has been used in the area since the Etruscan times). The “Ecomuseo dell’alabastro” includes two itineraries, namely the excavation of the mineral, and the manufacturing and trade of alabaster.
The first route revolves around the museum of Castellina Marittima and the archives in Santa Luce, while the second one has the Museum of alabaster and the archives in Volterra as its touchstones. The Ecomuseum also offers a thematic itinerary set within an ancient extracting cave in the Massetto alabaster quarry, located in the Marmolaio valley not far from Santa Luce.
Last but not least, you should know that the Fondazione Musei Senesi, which brings together 43 museums in the area of Siena, launched the project “Digital ecomuseums of the Terre di Siena”.
Have a look at the following websites: