The Museum of Rural Life at Gaville

The Museum of Rural Life at Gaville (Figline e Incisa Valdarno) was first opened in some rooms in the rectory of the Romanesque Parish Church of San Romolo and other rural outbuildings in 1974.

The material on display testifies to the farming community in Florentine Arno Valley and is divided into two main sections: the first covers the theme of the “work” linked to the productive cycles of the countryside, like the cultivation and processing of typical local products (especially wheat, oil and wine) and the domestic activities of weaving and spinning; the second illustrates “everyday life”, with a careful reconstructions of rooms to exemplify the kitchen, bedroom and cellar.

The museum contains over 5000 exhibits – a number that is in continuous growth thanks to private donations – arranged in thirteen rooms and in the courtyard outside, which is furnished with cart and barrow wheels, wheels for rope making, a granite millstone, a feeding trough, a cistern for collecting rainwater and a stone drinking trough. However the stone oil mill of 1729, monumental in size and complete with all the necessary machinery and equipment for the production of oil, epitomises the heart of the entire museum.

The room dedicated to dried herbs instead contains a collection of the most common medicinal herbs to be found in this area, put together by a boy from Genoa, the son of a local schoolteacher, in the early 20th century.

The collection of images of saints and religious subjects is also particularly interesting; constantly enlarged with purchases and donations, it can be found in the room of religious traditions.