Monday, September 25, 2017

Not Bricks, Nor Sticks, But Straw

You Ever Wonder Who Made These
And Where Did They Come From?
Those Romantic Chianti Bottles
Italy is filled with amazing mini adventures.  This weekend we left the Veneto, entered the Province of Ferrara and drove south towards Ravenna.   We would stay overnight at an agritourismo and do some minor bird watching.  The area around the Po River is known for such.  We were also going to take in a Goya exhibition in a nearby village.  While there the owner of the agritourismo told us about an herb museum in the nearby village of Villanova di Bagnacavallo and we decided to check it out.  This was the tip of the day!

Hats, etc!

It was not an herb museum but a straw….. a bit of everything made out of straw museum.  Walking room to room through the past, viewing baskets, shoes, hats, implements, rugs, made me stop to consider how plastic has replaced this old method.  We should have rejected plastic.  Soon to come, I hope.  
Harvesting Items


There was a video of how the Po River had flooded and made basically a swamp out of a huge amount of farm land.  Now tamed, the ground is responsible for producing some of Italy’s best produce.  We also learned that the people in times past made straw things that were exported and were valued as being “in style”.   I was amazed at how many things were produced by weaving straw.   What a fine museum this village has made to show their heritage. 

No Trying It Out!

Several times during the year they offer a weekend to learn from the older residents how to make a basket.  80 Euros gets you all the items you need to make your basket  plus plenty of stories from the past.
Some of the baskets have very intricate designs, they all seem to be a bit different; however, I think a student will end up with a basic design at the end of the weekend.  

Various Items
All The Straw Is
Different Design

In the same building you can find a restaurant that features, as atmosphere, undies from the past hanging overhead.  Hundreds of white undies, mens and womens, many with embroidered initials hang above.  Who would have thought?  They also have old implements for cooking and making coffee.  Of course you get the guided tour if they are not too busy.  Be sure and ask to see the outdoor thatched roofed buildings which have interesting items from the past.

Home Made Nails
Shown in Thatch Roof Buildings
In the past 8 years in Italy,  I have seen a lot of museums.    This one I would actually place in the top 10 on my list.  It actually was exceptional in the grouping of items, and how they displayed them.,  They have included a lot of history, well explained on the walls.  We are going back to learn how to make a basket and learn more about this small village that once was so important to Italy.   BTW, the food is exceptional in this area.  

More about this area in the next two blog postings, one on the farm stay and one on a Goya exhibit.


No comments: