As with everything else in this part of Italy, this museum has a German name (Sudtiroler Landsmuseum fur Volkskunde) and an Italian name (Museo provinciale degli usi e costumi). The official English title, according to their handbook, is The South Tyrol Museum of Folk Traditions. It is very similar to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan (USA). The main farmhouse and barn contain extensive collections of tools and other artifacts of daily life from the region's past. The surrounding land has been populated with an impressive collection of rural buildings which have been carefully dismantled and removed from their original locations and preserved here.
We stopped here while driving between two hotels. Our youngest daughter was asleep in the car, so I parked in the shade and sent the rest of the family inside. I figured it would take an hour or two, tops. How wrong I was! Not only is this museum amazing, but it is also immense.
My grandfather, a forester and wood-products engineer, would have LOVED this place. The huge barn is full of farming gear, mostly made of wood, befitting a heavily forested alpine region. The centerpiece is the "drendl", a massive threshing machine made almost exclusively of wood, even the chain and cogs are wooden. You can drop a coin in a slot and make it rotate, which both children loved. (There was also a Tyrol-style wooden bowling alley outside, near the restaurant, which was more great fun for the little ones.)
Photography is not allowed in the main house and barn (the main ethnographic/artefact collections), but is allowed outdoors and among the rural outbuildings. This makes for some very atmospheric pictures.
One of my pet peeves is museums which forbid photography, and also lack a gift shop in which to buy books or postcards of the items you are not allowed to photograph. The South Tyrol Museum of Folk Traditions gets TWO big thumbs up for not only allowing photography in much of the site, but also having a super gift shop. Yes, they had books and postcards galore (lots of books in German and Italian, some in English as well), but also traditional candies, preserves, and folk crafts. A great place to purchase souvenirs, and gifts for those left behind at home.
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