Tossicia Museum, @Photograph by SSan,©LifeinAbruzzo Images
One of Abruzzo’s smaller museums, ‘NOT’ to leave just for a rainy day is Tossicia’s Museum of Traditional Arts (Tossicia Museo delle Tradizioni Artigiane), housed in the restored lofty medieval Marquis Palace (Palazzo Marchesale).
Small, compact, its underlying theme, which it achieves very successfully, is for the visitor to reflect on how the local Serpari people of the Silicana Valley have lived harmoniously with their environment since Neolithic times sustainably growing their artisan cottage industries.
In the first 2 rooms there is a permanent exhibition to the local famous artist ‘Scipione Annunziata’, a modern day treat for those looking for something outside the art of Castelli box of the Teramo region. This remarkable local artist had left primary school by her 3rd year to help her family out in the normal day-day-day chores of tough rural life, but by the 1960s she had begun sculpting in wood turning to painting in the 1970s. She has subsequently been shown in Paris & London to name a couple and her work was chosen to be appear on the national stamps in 1984 after the Pope was shot.
Examples of Scipione Annunziata’s works
She shares with Van Gogh a fascination with bold, bright colour and peasant life. She perfectly but innocently captures within each scene the hive of activity that is Abruzzo rural life, – they don’t and can’t stop for the most obvious reason… you go hungry and the whole family suffer if you do. (If you like her work, do take a drive up to nearby Azzini afterwards where you can see her monumental frescos framing the village walls).
The next part of the museum is divided into 4 sections: copper-work, wood-work; wool & weaving, food. Each area has a host of objects, photographs and a fully interactive video for you to watch. You’ll see how the small logo of the museum is actually an important part of local valley life. The little singing bird was a precious stamp of divinity, fertility and protection in by-gone years when the area had a deep belief in folklore and magic and you can watch as it is worked into the copperware by Chiarino artisans. Something not to be missed for DIY enthusiasts is how they used to turn nails – no DIY Brico superstores in days gone by.. Watch out too for the wolf trap.
For all of you who buy ‘Cold Pressed’ Virgin Olive Oil and always wonder why it is so much more expensive than sunflower do make a little time to watch the Tossicia Museum Olive Oil video. You’ll get to see what a time-consuming process it is at every stage of the life-cycle and stingy thoughts about the price of olive oil will be banished forever.
15 September–30 June, Open daily 09.00-13.00 (closed Sundays & Festivals)
01 July-14 September – Open daily except Mondays – 10.00-13.00, 16.00-20.00
Open Sundays from 10.00-13.00 & 16.00-20.00
Entrance Cost: 2 euros
Address: Palazzo Marchesale 64049 Tossicia (TE)
Tossicia Museum official website (in Italian only)
Scipione Annunziata official website gallery of images (in Italian)