Here you can find a list of museums in the Po and Varaita valleys. You will find ethnographic, natural history museums, and typical local crafts museums, such as the Costume museum or the museum mobile, the Harp and the musical theme park.
BARGE - Museo Etnografico La Brunetta
Via Antica Torriana, 35 Barge
This museum is located on the slopes of Montebracco, set up inside an L-shaped rural building with stone walls and slate roofs. It accommodates the settings of daily life, amongst which the kitchen, the bedroom, the corner for haymaking, and for the work of the blacksmith, cobbler, and carpenter. Outside is a well and an oven which are still functional, as well as a wine press from the 17th century, a washtub, and other objects
MARTINIANA PO - Museo del Piropo
Via Roma, 25
Parco del Po Cuneese: Tel. +39.0175.46505
The Parco della fascia fluviale del Po – tratto Cuneese (the portion located in the province of Cuneo) offers a great variety of environments, given the remarkable elevated excursion that typifies its territory and the consequent wealth of animal and vegetable species which determine a very significant biodiversity. The pyropes on the geo-site of Martiana Po represent a very rare crystal, present only in a handful of sites known to the world, a peculiarity that places emphasis upon the variety (and the geological sphere) of this place along the mouth of the Po Valley in the plains. The Museo del Piropo di Martiniana Po was created to familiarise the general public with a territory, featuring a unique and precious characteristic. Its structure, conceived primarily for schools, is placed in the heart of town – only a short walk from City Hall – and features three halls.
The geological events that led to the formation of the Po Valley are explained in the first. The topic of crystals and their structure, with the help of numerous models to explain their order within the space of the atoms, is elaborated in the second. Since the museum’s value lies mostly in its educational features, the last room is equipped for video presentations.
OSTANA - Civico Museo Etnografico 'Ostana Alta Valle Po'
Via Roma, 54
This Museum was created in 1997 with the purpose of describing the complex Occitan community of Ostana. Inside the Museum we find a reconstruction of a carpenter’s workshop, complete with tools for processing of milk. Documents, photographs and farm tools are also exhibited here.
REVELLO - Museo Naturalistico del fiume Po
The Museo Naturalistico del Fiume Po (The Nature Museum of the Po River) in Revello, at the centre of the Po Valley, is rich in history and particularly relevant artwork. In the large exhibit area, the displays are arranged around dioramas (full-scale reconstructions of natural environments and their "guests") that refer to the principal ecosystems of the Park: from alpine meadows and hills to the plain’s river. The goal is to represent the variety, characteristics and ecological wealth of the Parco del Po (Po Park) in the Cuneo Region. Designed especially for schools, the Visitors Centre is equipped with an area for slide shows and films, a small learning laboratory where students can deepen their knowledge in the specific topics related to the different natural environments and the different human activities within the Park. The Visitors Centre seeks to teach its guests how to observe and respect the Earth outside the boundaries of the protected areas, providing an example of good management and not a section cut-off from the local context.
SANFRONT - Borgata Museo di Balma Boves
Località Balma Boves - Frazione Rocchetta
Tel. +39.0171.618260 - fax +39.0171.610735
At 652 metres height on the Monte Bracco between the frazioni Rocchetta and Robella, the Balma Boves, a characteristic agricultural settlement testifies the agricultural life in the Cuneo area. Protected by a large peak (the “balma” or “barma”), Balma Boves can be reached only on foot and represents a perfectly conserved functional microcosm comprised by shelter for cattle, warehouse for agricultural tools, an oven for baking bread and a wash-house.
BELLINO – Museo del tempo e delle meridiane
The purpose of this museum is to bear witness “not only to the inventiveness and skill of the Bellinese people, but also demonstrate their traditions and lifestyle”. However it is also the first stop on the “sightseeing itinerary of the local meridians”: a legacy consisting of over 30 sundials mostly made by Bellinese artists between 1700 and 1934. The tour winds from the 1300 m altitude of the village of Ribiera and arrives as far as 1900 m on the granges of Queiroun, Coulet and Coumbes, near S. Anna. The museum has three separate rooms: "the starry vault”, which reproduces the constellation of the Little Dipper, and therefore includes the North Star, which was a reference point of the astronomical north; the “gnomonic vault”, where illustrative panels explain the practical interpretation of the sundials and present reproductions of the measuring instruments used in that era are kept; the “Bellino vault”, where the use of splendid photographs depict the local Alpine architecture and give information about Valle di Bellino, its traditions and lifestyle.
CASTELDELFINO - Museo Etnografico
Localita' Casermette Casteldelfino
Capital of the “Ciastelado” (the upper Varaita valley, added on until the 1700’s to the French Dauphiné, Casteldelfino holds an important testimony of local traditions and history within its walls. The four halls of the Museo Etnografico (ethnographic museum) host scale reproductions of monuments such as the main façade of the 15th-century parochial church dedicated to Saint Marguerite and an old chalet, alongside a collection of bonnets and costumes of valley dwellers, bobbin lace, items to cultivate the soil, honey, wood, old kitchen furniture with relative accessories and substantial photographic archives from the 1980’s.
CASTELDELFINO - Centro visita Alevè
Via Roma, 38 –
The Parco del Po-tratto Cuneese (the portion located in the province of Cuneo) has set up a tourist centre in the rooms of the former municipal wing of Casteldelfino regarding the Alevè Forest: the largest and most important Swiss Pine (Pinus cembra) forest in the Italian Alps. These woods extend for approximately 825 hectares between an altitude of 1000 - 2400 metres, safeguarded by landscape and hydro-geological boundaries and are registered in the National Book of Seeded Forests for the phyto-genetic qualities of its trees. It has also been included on the list of biotypes of European relevance since 2000.
The forest has a stable formation, a good ecological evolutionary balance, an excellent continuation and it also benefits from a good phyto-sanitary condition. This guarantees the productive function of the prized wood: pinkish and fragrant, durable and not subject to woodworms. It has always been chosen by local artisans for their sculptures, carved works and furniture.
ELVA - Museo dei Cavié - Museo di Pels
Casa della Meridiana Borgata Serre –
Tel. +39.340.9846508 - www.marcovaldo.it
The beautiful “Casa della Meridiana”, good example of alpine architecture, is seat of the Museum di “Pels” (from the Occitan language “hair”) since 2006. In the museum are conserved instruments, documents and archeological finds concerning the ancient and singular world of the “Pelassiers”, the collectors of hair in Elva.
PIASCO - Museo dell'arpa Victor Salvi
Via Rossana, 7
Tel: 0175.270.511 Fax: 0175.270.512
The Museo dell’Arpa (Harp Museum) in Piasco, the first and only museum in the world entirely dedicated to the harp, to its history, and to its universal sound, was created by maestro Victor Salvi, first harp under Arturo Toscanini. Salvi, born in Chicago in 1920, where his father Rodolfo had emigrated, left the United States in 1956 and moved to Italy, his land of origin, and established a harp business in Genova. In 1974, he moved the business to Piasco, in the Saluzzo area, known for the skill of its wood craftsmen, where he opened a factory in a former Wild cotton mill. In 2005, he inaugurated the museum, a precious jewel box above the Salvi factory, reached by a large spiral staircase hanging from metal cables that bring to mind harp strings and the sinuous shape of the instrument. Inside the museum is a precious collection: eighty-six instruments, the oldest of which date back to the 18th century. The space is filled with the visual indoor-outdoor light play from the large windows on the roof that open up to the sky as well as the large window that opens up toward the inside of the factory, which allows one to watch the work being carried out on harps and offers a broad view over the woodsy slopes of the Valle Varaita higher up.
PONTECHIANALE - Museo del Costume e dell'Artigianato Tessile
Fraz. Chianale 120 - tel. +39.347.8999198
The collections document the women’s costumes of the valley among the richest in the Western Alps, in particular, of the Varaita Valley. The costumes are the results of different skills that enhance the art of lace making, the processing of horsehair and the use of special frames for the production of ribbons.
PONTECHIANALE - Museo del Mobile dell'Alta Valle Varaita
tel. +39.348.7125650, +39.349.1466050
A museum that safeguards a collection of ancient furnishings made according to the traditions from the Occitan valleys. Pontenchianale, which has recently been added to the “più bei borghi d’Italia” circuit, hosts museum that safeguards a collection of ancient furnishings made according to the traditions from the Occitan valleys.
ROSSANA - Ecomuseo della Resistenza
Tel. +39.011.9610601, +39.0175.64453, +39.333.9491445 –
The museum is located in a pleasant village, witness of continuous guerrilla actions
during World War II
SAMPEYRE - Museo Etnografico
Via Roma, 37
Located in the oldest part of town, in a dwelling dating back to the 16th century, the museum exhibit (over 750 pieces) has the intention of perpetuating the historic memory of the Alpine society in the capital town of the Valle Varaita. Once upon a time there was Sampevre, work in the fields, woman’s work, the old mountain school, the cart and the knife sharpener, the cultivation of hemp, the cobbler and the tailor, animal’s work and the supply chain of wood are the various sections that, through the exposition of traditional clothing, tools and utensils from the past, accompany the visitor into the discovery of old -fashioned lifestyle in the mountains. Nine rooms are completed by a tenth one dedicated to the Baio, the town’s most important festival, the five-yearly historical re-enactment of when the Saracens were driven out of the valley, that hosts photos and faithful reproductions of the characters of the demonstration.
VENASCA - La fabbrica dei suoni - Parco tematico musicale
Via Marconi, 15 - Tel. +39.0175.567840 – Fax +39.0175.560963
Venasca, a small town in the Val Varaita, hosts Italy’s first theme park entirely dedicated to sound and music. The result of an idea by Cristiano Cometto and Mattia Sismonda, it proposes a recreational-sensorial course soaked in animation, capable of enchanting the visitor and allowing him or her to approach the multifaceted world of music, discovering “sounds” and “noises” with the use of the parameters of speed, height and timbre.
The educational method adopted is interesting: the museum, located in a modern building constructed where the former wood factory Sicta once stood, did not forsake the concept of maintaining an ideological bond with the past. The building’s former function is in the museum complex’s name for one, but it is through a visit to an authentic sound museum that we will be able to understand how – after various stages – the final product, the Music, is obtained.