Maggia Valley Museum
The Maggia Valley covers a fifth of Ticino's surface. It extends for 50 kilometers from Lake Maggiore to the peaks that rise above 3'000 meters. The landscape, mountainous with a lateral valley, is dominated by the forces of nature. For millennia humankind has sought to exploit the meager resources of the mountain. The Museum of Maggia Valley in Cevio represents a necessary stop for those who want to learn about the Valley, appreciate its rich natural environment and the surprising heritage left by humankind on the territory - a demonstration of the functionality and ingenuity of its everyday work.
The two exhibit locations of the Museo di Valmaggia are inserted into an architectural and landscape context of great value: the two palaces are in fact located in the old Cevio neighborhood, consisting of bourgeois homes built in the 1500s by the Franzoni families that for over two centuries backed the landfogti (representatives of the Confederate Cantons to which Ticino had to submit), leading an important political and economic role.
Franzoni Palace, main building of the Museum
In the 17th century solemn Franzoni Palace, renovated in 2002, different permanent exhibits connected to mankind and the territory where it stands have been set up. Illustrated are the natural riches of the valley, dominated by stone and river. Exposed are themes such as history and religion, women, the cycle of life, livestock breeding and sheep farming. Outside, past the vast courtyard toward the majestic portal and a recess previously used as an apiary is located an enormous press Piedmont-style, one of the largest still visible in Ticino.
The basement and cellar of the Museum
From the bottom floor of the building you may access, through an under passage, an extraordinary underground environment consisting of a basement and a cellar that were used for preserving and transforming products from the land, in particular for wine-making and for distillation. An enormous boulder of approximately 10'000 cubic meters towers above the two cavities.
Respini-Moretti house, second location of the Museum
A second palace, situated near the main building, welcomes interesting temporary exhibits about peasant and Alpine civilizations, usually mounted every two years. It's also possible to visit a permanent archaeological exhibit documenting the birth and death of a community from the Roman era, that lived in the valley 2000 years ago.
(Text from the brochure dedicated to the museum)
If you have more time…
Itinerary: Grotti of Cevio (1h, see map)
Starting from the museum, an educational itinerary develops on the slope of the mountain where, below the enormous boulders that collapsed in a distant past, over sixty cellars were dug. An easy trail, accessible to all, allows you to discover a world dominated by stone that is at first glance seemingly unproductive but where humankind was able to adapt with ingenuity and functionality.