HISTORY OF FIELD RESEARCH

The Museum of gypsum ceilings

TIMETABLES AND TICKETS

The museum opens the 1 may

ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
from 10.30 to 18.30

10 people at time every 30 minutes. Reservation has request the day before the entrance.

COST OF THE TICKET
Euro 5.00 whole

Free for residents of Magliano, for children up to 14 years, for holders of “ the Torino Musei pass” and for visitors with disabilities.

CONTACTS BAROLO
& CASTLES FOUNDATION
+39 0173 38 66 97

THIS IS THE IDEA OF

Museum of plaster ceilings

On the afternoon of the first August Sunday in 1971, a small group of five friends was setting up an old little cart kept under the porch of an ancient uninhabited house in San Antonio of Magliano Alfieri. It was the day of the traditional country festival of San Gervasio, in the town of Neive.

That group of young friends would have cleaned the cart well, would have decorated it with branches and then would have trotted along the six kilometres of roads shaded by poplars, elders and gaggias, which separate San Antonio from San Gervasio.

They worked joking and drinking wine directly from the neck of a dark bottle and someone, who perhaps kept his eyes up for drinking, suddenly noticed, drawn on a fragment of flat whitish stone, placed in a layer with other fragments to fill a wall of raw bricks, a very strange figure: cheerful little putti, a little hidden by the underlying bricks, held up a ribbon in the manner of a child intent on jumping with a rope. What was that figurine doing, nestled among the dusty bricks of an old, crumbling porch? His secret was unexpectedly revealed twenty days later by the Turin newspaper “La Stampa” which on 26 August published an article by Marziano Bernardi entitled: rustic Art in Piedmont on the third page.

The writing spoke about a surprising discovery illustrated in “A very careful study by a young talented Fine Arts official, Enrica Fiandra, published in the Palladio magazine with the title” The plaster ceilings in the Lower Monferrato“.

Happiness starts from the ceiling

IN THE CASTLE ROOMS

AMONG FLOWERS, MYSTERIOUS ANIMALS AND GALANT SCENES

The extraordinary phenomenon of decorated ceilings, made in humble homes, had until then completely escaped art scholars and ethnographers and its discovery helped to correct the distorted image of a Piedmontese peasant lacking creativity and aesthetic taste. The five friends, after reading the article, immediately connected their little cherub with the Monferrato “plasters”.

That consideration gave way to conduct a small investigation in Magliano and in the neighbouring countries. In a few months, still intact ceilings were found and photographed and various fragments were recovered.

It was a very particular construction technique mainly widespread in peasant houses: horizontal connections formed by load-bearing gypsum panels were cast in place between a framework of wooden beams and joists, on wooden matrices with a negative engraved decorative motif, which remained positive on the panel. The oldest dated attic, found in a farmhouse in” Vezza d’Alba”, brings the date of 1580 and the most recent examples date back to the mid-nineteenth century.

Inside the diffusion areas, everything was done with gypsum, raw and cut into blocks it was used to build elevation walls, cooked and ground was the main component of the mortar to tie bricks of the vaults and walls, it was used as fertilizer in agriculture… and of course it was the raw material to build the floors.

Enrica Fiandra’s research, central Inspector of the Ministry for Cultural and Environmental Heritage,  also aimed at arousing the interest of the owners and regional bodies responsible for the protection of our cultural heritage around that particular testimony of peasant culture.

In the  1972 summer, those young people from Magliano who in the meantime had increased in number, led by Antonio Adriano, began to work for the creation of a Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions. They came into contact with Enrica Fiandra to whom they sent the first data of their research: from the encounter between the two experiences, the idea was born of creating a Documentation Center on the culture of gypsum in the castle of Magliano which on 27 September 2002 was inaugurated in its definitive preparation.

AMONG THE HILLS OF THE ROERO

THE LANDSCAPE THEATER

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