This museum was founded on the wish of the Local Committee of Colognora di Pescaglia and its aim is to promote the development of Colognora. In 1985, inside the archiepiscopal archives of Lucca a parchment was found, dated 828, currently still considered as the most ancient document relevant to the cultivation of the chestnut tree as a food source.
The discovery of this document, regarding Colognora, inspired Angelo Frati to create a museum exclusively dedicated to this wonderful and precious natural product. In the past the chestnut tree was called “the bread tree” because of its essential role for the survival of the inhabitants of these rugged valleys. Their way of life revolved around the chestnut and many distinctive implements were invented to improve the work involved: from the chestnut picking to the final product.
The museum today is in two sections: a centre on the use of chestnut wood, explained through specific workshops, focusing on carp entry, basket work, barrel making and an in-depth look at the places and materials used (the woods, the tannin, the charcoal etc). On display, a 250 year old wood-turning lathe – “rod” or “whip”, used in the carpentry shop, while examples of frame saws, tools already used by the Etruscans, can be seen in the forest section.
The other section focuses on the use of the chestnut as a food source and comprises a collection on this theme, unique in its kind, in all of Italy. On display, various implements connected to this tradition, from the grafting of the chestnut trees, the pruning, the harvest, the drying, the threshing, the milling and preservation of the flour, to when the final product arrives on our table.