Casa Museo dell'Alta Valle del Cervo
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The environment of the Upper Cervo Valley (in dialect the Bursch: the den, home) is unique. The presence of man and his secular occupations were characterized:
1) by this land that is and always has been hostile and therefore difficult to cultivate with very few areas of flat land to use for pastures;
2) by the emigration of the men who were qualified stone-masons and builders specialized in working the only wealth given to them by this land, the local stone, called sienite. It's a particularly valuable variety of granite ideal for building, appreciated all over the world thanks to these men;
3) by the women who remained in the valley holding complete responsibility for housekeeping, agriculture and farming.
In the 1960s a small group of people began to collect various documents, to record statements, both spoken and written, photographs, pictures and objects which were used in the daily lives and the work of their ancestors in order to help people to remember the recent history of their families and neighbourhood and consequently the events and ways of life that had made the valley the way it was. In 1964 an unexpectedly successful exhibition was created at the St. John’s Sanctuary.
In 1973 the Upper Valley Cervo Mountain Community (La Bürsch) was created and under its care the House Museum of Rosazza was born in 1987 after all the farsighted work that had begun in early sixties. This was the perfect place to show the material and immaterial culture which makes the Bürsch unique in the Alps. Since 2000 it has been one of the fifteen sections of the Biellese Ecomuseum and it takes an important part in all its activities.
The House Museum can be found in a traditional house in the village of Rosazza. It was built in the eighteenth century but was completely renovated in 1876. There are fifteen rooms on four floors as well as an attic and all of this space is used to exhibit the way of life within and outside the home: the kitchen, the cowshed, the room where the stone-masons’ tools are shown, the professional and stone masonry school, the workers’ society for mutual aid and assistance, the emigration of the men and the important role of the women who remained at home.
The House Museum is managed by the Association of Cultural Volunteers who brought it to life and from the very beginning was seen to be open to the contributions both of individual people and of official bodies. Furthermore the Museum became an important part of a range of visits for which there are brochures, covering themes such as the works of the philanthropist Federico Rosazza Pistolet and of the paths of faith.
Thanks to the praiseworthy group “Valëtte an ĝipoun”, whose presence has been appreciated since the beginning, the culture of the Bursch has been promoted beyond the Biellese area. Alone or with other associations the House Museum has promoted and taken part in various exhibitions. Gianni Valz Blin, tireless President of the Association for more than twenty years has written several works which are also of great interest.
The Museum has been sustained by the volunteers over the past years. Thus the collection of objects is now of more than one thousand exhibits without counting the numerous photographs and documents that the visitor can admire. Several new rooms have been prepared to improve the experience of the public.
The association was formed in 1987, encouraged by the Bursch, in order to give the members the lawful right to make decisions to the members who had helped to prepare the Museum and who accompany visitors. Gianni Valz Blin, tireless President for more than twenty years and now Honorary President, is helped by people of different age groups, many of whom belong to the “Valëtte an Ĝipoun”.
In the beginning the Association worked with the Mountain Community but gradually more and more autonomously to promote the culture of the Bursch by taking part in events outside the Biellese area, also with the aim of establishing a link with other Mountain Communities. In order to involve the local councils in 2010 it was decided that there should be a member from each of the five councils which make up the Bursch as well as on from the Mountain Community in the official Council meetings.
At present an effort is being made to make residents and holiday-makers alike aware of the importance of the Association in order to help the promotion of this cultural pole and to encourage the spreading of this with other cultural initiatives.
You can become a member by paying 10 euros per year. Payment can be made at the museum during visiting times.
Info: +39 338 387 65 95
Picture: two members of the group in traditional costume.
Le Valëtte an Ĝipoun: pray in traditional dress
This group was formed in 1976 when the Mountain Community was founded. This was in order to show all the beauty of this traditional costume for feast days which dates back to the end of the eighteenth century. The costume was usually very dark but was brightened up by precious and colourful details. It was worn at local village eventsand on special occasions, either civil or religious. The group invited its members to go immediately to search the home or that of grand-parents for pieces of material or even parts of dresses in order to make up the costume. Otherwise, the invitation was to search for some material, if possible original material, and to have it made.
From the beginning of the setting up of the Museum, many women who are fond of the valley (through birth, residence or sentimental ties) have taken part in the activities and shown visitors around on open days, drawing attention to their important role whereas at one time they were renowned for the absence of men as all the men spent most of their time abroad. The group soon became an important part of the Association for the House Museum, Upper Valley Cervo.
Today, there are more than twenty people in the group. They are of all ages and they come from all the different municipalities. Their aim is to take part in events and make known the culture of the Valley and this area of the Alps, even in villages and towns far away from Biella.