Museum of Farming Civilization, Arts and Popular Traditions
The buildings facing the town hall have been renovated and they host a “Museum of Farming Civilization, Arts and Popular Traditions”, open to schoolchildren and to the general public. Walking through the museum and observing the antique tools used for working and for daily life, allows our young people to get in touch with a world which has almost completely disappeared, while older visitors may use their imagination and relive the joys and pains of our ancestors who, with great sacrifice and hardships, built the foundations of today’s civilization. Ancient tastes, smells and traditions come to life, as well as the heat from the fireplace or from the warming pans placed under the bed covers, the atmosphere emanating from the long and cold winter evenings. Listening again to the sounds of the pestle and the mortar, of the barley coffee grinder, of the animals transiting through the streets. The smell of must, of baked bread and sweets just out of the oven, of the new oil. In our mind, images of manual farming work to which these tools belonged, now admired in the museum, yet at one time, constant companions during the long days in the fields or the household activities.
In that civilization, the woman had a very important role. The numerous chores she was responsible for, made her the pivot point of the family: gathering drinking water from the well, kneading the dough to make the bread, doing the laundry on the shores of the river or at the public fountain, bringing up children, breeding domestic animals, feeding and cleaning farm animals, taking care of the vegetable garden, of the house, cooking and bringing the food to the men working in the fields, these were the occupations of women throughout the year.
Women also helped with seasonal work such as sowing, weeding, reaping, grape harvesting, olive picking, etc. In the summer they prepared jams, sauces, vegetables to conserve, dry figs.
Objects of common use were the “conca”, a copper water amphora, which women learned as children to carry on their head; a few basic utensils made of copper, aluminium, tin and terracotta; a mattress made with corn leaves, laid on wooden boards or canes; sheets and blankets hand woven by the women,; the pillows filled with the wool sheared off the sheep. The fabrics were regularly spun at home with distaffs and cotton, wool, and sometimes linen, was woven on a rudimental loom. This was usually set up in a corner of the bedroom. A wooden chest and a “madia” (kitchen cupboard) generally completed the furniture of the patriarchal home.
The Museum is organized on three floors and contains hundreds of objects, ranging from the most rare to the most common, all arranged according to logical and educational criteria.