Museo Territoriale del lago di Garda

An itinerary through the history and traditions of Lake Garda

By Associazione culturale GardaMusei

Ingresso del Museo, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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The items on display in this museum were in use until the early 1950s in fishing, farming, carpentry and the daily life of the local lakeside communities. The items
on display are the result of decades of diligent research by Luigi Bertàmè, an expert on local history, who has dedicated his life to the ethnographic study of his place of origin.

Manifestazione storica a Garda (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

La pieve di Garda (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Pal del Vo (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Fisheries

On display in the centre of the room is a piece of the Pal del Vò, a flag pole, which until a few decades ago marked an area of the lake which was shallow and particularly rich in fish; this area called Secca del Vò and originally part of the fisheries of S. Virgilio, is the property of the guild of the “Antichi Originari”, the native inhabitants. In 1452 the Noble family of the Becelli of Costermano sold the rights to the inhabitants of Garda, Torri and Sirmione for the sum of 1000 gold ducats. 

Fotografia storica Pal del Vo (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Sirmione withdrew from the guild in 1700 and their rights passed to Garda and Torri, who, in line with tradition, are still in possession of those rights to this very day. The tin flag at the top of the pole “Pal del Vò” reads “Corporazione degli Antichi Originari di Garda e Torri” “Guild of the native old families of Garda and Torri”, indicating the owners of the fishery rights. The descendents of the original owners, who had acquired the rights in 1452, are to this day members of the guild. Every year the rights are distributed among the fisherman of the Benaco region and any resulting income is divided among the descendants of the founder families.

La sala della pesca (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

In the centre of the room there are several pieces of equipment for trawler fishing, long lines or long chains with artificial or live bait that could be wound onto a wooden cylinder (matros), or kept in a trunk (Tirlindana). These tools, introduced to the lake in 1850, have revolutionized fishing in that they allowed people who did not own expensive cotton nets to catch trout and the much sought-after salmo carpio, (a salmonid fish); both types of fish are native only to Lake Garda.

Reti da pesca e strumenti da lavoro, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Contenitore per la conservazione del pesce fresco (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

To conclude, there are two perforated containers (turbe), which were immersed in the water to keep the catch alive.

Vivaio a barchetta (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Pescatori sul lago (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Nassa, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Matros, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Cavra, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Ancora, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Cassettina porta lenze, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Cesta contenitrice, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Forone, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Fiocina (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Forche per l'agricoltura (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Farming

Although blessed with a large expanse of fertile land, local agriculture was characterized by small plots of land which were farmed for domestic use. Animals were employed to pull carts and ploughs, more often than not cows, in addition to supplying milk and calves, were used for this purpose. 

Allevamento e agricoltura (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Scythes, wooden rakes and pitchforks were used for haymaking; hay was extremely important as it served as feed for the livestock. The farmer’s working year began in November with the fertilization of fields and sowing of wheat. It continued the following spring with the pruning of vines and olive trees: grapes and olives were the principle produce. April was the month for sowing maize. In early summer the wheat was harvested. The grape harvest followed in September and in November
the olive harvest concluded the year.

Carriola (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Tramoggia, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Giogo (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Cows and oxen were tied to a wooden yoke

Mortaio in legno (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Mortaio in pietra, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Piantatoio, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Pala in legno, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Mola a pedale (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Utensili di vita domestica (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Object of daily life

Until the 1960s, family life centred mainly around two rooms located on two floors. Women and the older generations would spend the daytime hours in the kitchen downstairs, the sleeping quarters were upstairs. A single fireplace was the only form of heating; it was lit in the evenings to cook polenta with fish, and occasionally some meat. Smouldering embers were used to heat irons for ironing. Before retiring to bed on a cold winter’s night the red-hot remnants of the fire were placed in warming pans, which were first inserted in the preo, a protective cover box, and then slipped between the sheets to warm the chilly beds. The chair with one leg cut shorter allowed closer access to the fire and was mostly used by the older generations. Also on display are some wash boards called “banche”, which were employed on the shore of the lake.

Sala dell'artigianato e vita domestica (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Tostino (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Sedia, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Boule (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Lavatoio (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Ferro da stiro, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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Sega a lama intelaiata (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Cavalletto a rullo, GardaMusei, 2018/2018, From the collection of: Associazione culturale GardaMusei
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The lake shores are rich in trees providing wood: oak, olive, willow, beech and, in higher altitudes, chestnut, larch and fir wood, to name but the most common ones. Carpenters chose the most suitable wood for their purposes. Baskets were made from willow reeds, the masts of the boats from “peccio” (fir wood), Fir wood panels also were used for shell-plating boats and for making and washboards. Wheelbarrows for transporting rocks were made from durable oak while the handles of scythes, rakes and pitchforks were made from ash. Yokes for animals were made from oak or ash. Furniture was made from walnut, cherry or fir wood. However, different types of wood were often used in combination: table legs were made from hard cherry wood, while the table tops were often made from fir wood. There are examples of all the items mentioned here as well as the tools required to make them. A large vice for working or gluing wood is on display in the centre of the room as well as various types of saw for cutting boards and tools for precision work.

Ingresso del Museo (2018/2018) by GardaMuseiAssociazione culturale GardaMusei

Credits: Story

Andrea Modena Fotografo

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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