Ethnographic Museum of Muggio Valley
The Museum of Muggio Valley (Swiss Landscape Award 2014) can be defined as a "museum on the territory". In fact, it is not in fact conceived as a place for the collection of objects. Instead, it invites the visitor to trace the Valley and discover realities of museographic interest, like: the nevere (old fridges) built for the preservation of milk, the roccoli (bird snare) to catch migratory birds, the mills for grinding corn and chestnuts and the graa (a small stone building for drying chestnuts). The Casa Cantoni in Cabbio takes on the function of centre where you can obtain useful information to discover the region.
The museum's activity
Following the concept of the ecomuseum, which inspired the Museum of Muggio Valley, every single cultural good is placed in its territorial context and the local population is given an active role in the identification of this heritage. The first step was to create an inventory, study it and understand the architectural heritage developed by the rural civilization. Thereafter, numerous interventions were made in the region and a network with local actors and the population interested in the project was created. Hence, this type of museum distinguishes itself from the traditional ones. Its main references are the land and cultural heritage in a broader sense and not the collection of objects traditionally associated with the idea of a museum. The museum's activities do not only concern the visitor but also involve the population that lives in this regional context.
The Museum of the Muggio Valley has four collections: the buildings scattered around the area, objects of the rural civilisation, a collection of thousands of images dedicated to the landscape and a vast thematic documentation in paper and digital forms. Over a 30-year period the museum has patrolled the area and catalogued the buildings of interest to then preserve the most representative ones (nevere, graa, etc.). A few hundred objects of the rural civilization are instead exhibited in the building of Casa Cantoni in occasion of thematic exhibits tied to the presentation of the area and traditional activities.
To better discover the ecomuseum of the Muggio Valley, besides Casa Cantoni, it is worth visiting the villages of Muggio and Cabbio. Both offer a monumental washhouse, a graa and two parish churches worthy of a visit. Another interesting construction connected to the peasant lifestyle is the Bruzella mill, running from April to October (please check opening-time).
If you have more time…
Itinerary: Cabbio - Alpe Bonello (4h, see map)
Among the many possible itineraries in the Muggio Valley we propose a very unique one.
With a car or with public transportation go to Cabbio (650 m), where it's worth visiting the Casa Cantoni before starting the walk in order to learn more about the region, or after to elaborate on what you've seen.
The itinerary begins above the churchyard of the San Salvatore church by taking the narrow alley on the left. A little further, at the intersection, continue on the right along the mule track towards Arla. In a good half an hour you will reach Valera (860 m) and will take the high trail that leads you to Batuela (940 m) in about 20 minutes. There you will see a nevera between the huts. Another thirty minutes, after passing the detour that descends towards Cetto, you will finally reach Arla (1017 m). If you encounter a local or if you're with a tour guide, it's worth having him or her tell you the tale of the spirits of Cetto that in 1904 ravaged through the farmsteads. From Arla you will slowly go up to the watershed between the Cugnolo Valley and the Luasca Valley with a beautiful and vast panorama. From the watershed, in about 20 minutes, it is possible to reach Prabello (1201 m), located in Italy, with its shelter at the foot of the Sasso Gordona Mountain (1410 m), protagonist of legends and smugglers' stories.
Our itinerary continues along the mule track and in half an hour you will arrive at Alpe Bonello (Bonello Pasture) (1100 m), where you may enjoy a beautiful nevera restored by the Museum of the Muggio Valley. Here it's also possible to taste the products of the pasture or, instead, taste the excellent polenta and other traditional dishes prepared by Mrs Luigia (upon reservation at 091 6841839).
To go back down the valley you can choose different routes. From the Alpe Bonello, down along the road, you will return to Cabbio. Alternately, before looking at the watercourse of the Luasca Valley, usually dry, you can leave the road and take a well-indicated trail to reach the village of Muggio.
Another possibility consists of going to another pasture (Alpe della Bolla, 1088 m), a few steps from Alpe Bonello, and thereafter take the street indicated for Rondagno (813 m), that leads to the villages of Muggio and Cabbio.