Castello di Magliano museo gessi

Museum itineraries

With reference to Magliano, Vittorio Alfieri wrote: “it’s a lovely place, where you enjoy excellent air and perfect peace”. And it is still like this today, among the streets of the village that climb up to the castle, to the delightful park that faces it, and to the viewpoint at whose feet the Roero and Barberesco Langhe hills unfold.

The castle houses the Museo Civico Antonio Adriano di Arti e Tradizioni Popolari, which is divided into two museum itineraries of great ethnographic interest. These were created thanks to the careful and valuable research and commitment of the Gruppo Spontaneo di Magliano Alfieri volunteers first and the Associazione Amici del Castello Alfieri later.

Museum of plaster ceilings

The Museum of plaster ceilings documents and recounts the fashion of decorated plaster ceilings, once characteristic of the farmhouses in this area and revealed to visitors here in their countless aspects.

The Museum of plaster ceilings has occupied the eastern wing of the main floor since 1994 and is named after Antonio Adriano of Magliano, who was its creator and director. The museum documents the characteristic decorated plaster ceilings, which were very common in Roero, Asti, Monferrato, and Ovada farmhouses between the 17 th and 19 th centuries.

This tradition transformed a poor material into an art form serving functionality and beauty.

The rooms assist the visitor in discovering the geological formation of gypsum, of how it was extracted, baked, and then used to create ceilings with a very special construction technique. The plaster was cast directly in place, between a frame of wooden beams and joists, inside a mould with a negative impression of decorations with geometric motifs or naturalistic subjects. When the mould was removed, after the material dried, a positive impression was left on the panel.

The oldest dated ceiling, found in place in a farmhouse in Vezza d’Alba, has the date 1580.

Numerous decorated panels of various sizes are also on display along the visitor’s path. These were recovered by the volunteers of Magliano and often rescued from oblivion and the destruction they were destined for by old farmhouse restorations that sought a form of modernity where this tradition had no place.

The Landscape Theatre

The Landscape Theatre illustrates the evolution of the landscape as a starting point for describing the historical changes that have occurred from the post-war period to today. The voices of the Gruppo Spontaneo di Magliano Alfieri provide a common thread; this group is credited with launching the rediscovery of the farm culture that, due to industrial development, risked being forgotten.

Since 2015, the Landscape Theatre has been housed in the western wing of the castle’s main floor.

It is a multimedia path that recounts the evolution and transformation of the hillscapes of the Langhe and Roero and of the river that separates them, the Tanaro. Among the rooms, you explore the centuries’ old relationship between humans – the farmer working on these hills – and the land, a relationship that has shaped a unique landscape over the course of generations, the harmonious product of nature and human effort.

Multimedia teaching stations are paired with daily work tools.

The visitor can virtually float down the Tanaro, seated in a navèt; relive the social and economic life, the religious and secular festivals that punctuated the farm traditions; and enter a characteristic house – a cave, which humans and animals shared, sometimes even on the threshold of the 20 th century.

The Landscape Theatre is – like the Museum of plaster ceilings – the result of a collective effort.

The material and oral evidence collected by the Gruppo Spontaneo di Magliano Alfieri, and their interaction with a group of young researchers of the Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche (University of Gastronomic Sciences) of Pollenzo, led to the organization of the museum’s content. The latter is intended to reflect on how economic and production choices affect the land over time.