The San Michele Museum and the earth pyramids of Segonzano
Malè – San Michele – Segonzano: km 70
As early as on 29 September 1145, the monastery of San Michele all’Adige welcomed the Augustinian religious, invited by the Bishop of Trent Altemanno. Their convent, supplied with a precious library, acted as a beacon of Tridentine culture until the dissolution of the religious order in the early 19th Century. The Augustinians were skilled in the art of vine growing, and taught its secrets to the local peasants. In 1869, the Provincial Diet of Tyrol purchased the building and devoted it to the Istituto Agrario (an association of farmers set up in 1874), adding a new building beside the existing ones. The medieval section articulates around a triangular courtyard, enriched with a loggia and a three-sided cloister.
Since 1972, the former monastery – excluding the 18th Century baroque church – has been housing a prestigious ethnographic Museum, featuring some 40 exhibition rooms. The museum gathers items pertaining to the history, the economy, the religious traditions, the folklore and the habits of the Trentino people. Some skilled amateurs have enriched the Museum with purchased items and donations, in an effort to maintain the links with people’s past.
Going through the exhibition, you will learn about the techniques of wine-making, distillation and milling; agricultural activities are represented by a complete collection of farming tools; the sections dedicated to metal fabrication, spinning and pottery exhibit the respective artisan tools. A great attention is granted to such activities as woodworking, alpine pasturing and traditional cooking. The museum provides some interesting examples of furnishings and both working and holiday garments.
All this contributes to making the Museum a fundamental reference point for whoever is eager to know about Tridentine history and cultural traditions. If you continue towards Lavis (to the North of Trent), you can take the road getting into Val di Cembra to Segonzano. The place is well known because of the peculiar statues that Nature has been sculpturing in the valley’s scree. Four different types of “pyramids” contribute to a unique landscape: some have a sort of porphyry “cap” casting its shade over them (and weighing up to several tens of tons); others are arranged like an organ’s pipes, others are as sharp as blades. A legend tells about fairies and elves, that were turned into stone because of a mysterious spell cast at the beginning of human history

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