iten +39 0835 334033

Peasant Civilization

The Museo-Laboratorio della Civiltà Contadina of Matera was created by Mr. Donato Cascione and is currently managed by the cultural association of the same name (non-profit organization), of which Cascione is president.
It currently has an extension of 500 square meters: in its definitive construction it will include twice the current surface and will be completed with workshops where young people can learn the ancient crafts (papier mache, potter, basket maker, etc.).

The preparation of the exhibition rooms was preceded by years of targeted collection of everyday objects and tools of various trades that were the basis of the economic and social life of the city of the Sassi. A fundamental criterion inspired the setting of the various rooms: the museum should not have been a cold display of objects and tools, but a reconstruction of rooms as faithful as possible to reality, and therefore living rooms, welcoming, with attention to detail, where nothing it was random, where young people could experience significant contact with the past.

In fact, young people in particular are the privileged users of this initiative because it is right that they should be guaranteed the full recovery of a past to which it has been believed too long to be able to refer with an excessive and unjustified use. The operational phase of the preparation, preceded by an in-depth study of the most significant texts of “peasant literature”, was comforted by the enthusiastic advice of elderly people who lived this story whose testimony is studded with details that no text could provide, because they flow from personal experiences.

Currently the association is committed to the fruition front, which it wants to guarantee at different levels: from the simple tourist visit to the in-depth research that accompanies didactic itineraries prepared for students of all levels. There are several cultural activities that the association carries out in its territory, always aimed at involving young people (group work, production of educational material, dramatizations, publication of testimonies, etc.)

Because this museum

  In the smell of shavings, stables, ovens,
of wine, oregano I grew up:
among the tuff powder of the master masons
and the chatter of the gypsies who traded horses.

  I still have the noise of planes in mind,
of beaten anvils, the screeching of the brakes of the chariots,
the rustle of wheat emptied into the bins,
the donkey’s effort exhausted by household goods,
desperate crying over the death of the mule,
the song of the peasant kneading,
the joy made of nothing, the distant voices …

   All of this has been my world, yours.
All this built our future:
the identity of a people.

   Donato Cascione


Address Via San Giovanni vecchio, 60 Sasso Barisano
Phone 0835 344057
Opening time 9:00 – 13:00; 16:00 – 20:00 (Summertime)
Closure day  
Web Site
Prices €2,00 Full, €1,50 Reduced