The Sale della Terra Museum or Museo di Comunità is a small exhibition that celebrates Manciano's 'contadini' culture or farming heritage.
The museum is located just outside of Manciano in a beautifully old, turn-of-the-century manor. This spot was specifically chosen to give visitors a better idea of farming life and is surrounded by nothing but endless stretches of open fields... and a few sheep.
Inside, the first room of the museum has been set up to mirror a 20th century peasant home. Every item of the collection was donated by Mario Babbanini, a local historian who has spent much of his 90 years cataloguing bits and pieces from different families in the area.
All of the items have been beautifully conserved. There's an old stove with a cast iron coffee pot and wheat grinder in a picturesque kitchen, while cutlery and dishware sit on an oak table in the adjacent dining area.
Next to them is a wooden bedside table and an iron-framed bed, complete with sheets and pyjamas. One of the museum's most precious items is also on the bed – a small heater know as a 'prete', which was filled with hot coals and hidden among the sheets in winter. Beside the bed is an ornate sewing machine with foot pedals and a spinning wheel.
In the museum's other room is a collection of farming equipment. Each section of this room is divided into a different facet of farming life. There are the tools used to collect grain and spray insecticide, huge wicker barrels used to store wine and an antique wine press, and, on the far wall, a massive disk lined with mesh, which was used to sift wheat.
As you walk around the room, there are pictures of farmers using some of the equipment displayed in the collection. You can see them picking grapes and herding sheep, preparing the fields for sowing and harvesting the grain.
The Sale della Terra Museum is a must see. You don't have to be interested in agriculture to enjoy the collection. One of my favourite things to do here is wander from item to item trying to guess what its uses were. This isn't easy - many of the items on display look nothing like their modern counterparts!
There is plenty for kids to see and do too with a small section outside dedicated to bigger farming equipment like an antique tractor and cart.
To visit this museum is to be transported back to the early 20th century in country Maremma, and it's fantastic to see this section of the region's heritage so beautifully preserved.
Address: Cooperativa Agricola Fillippo Mazzolai, Loc Lagora Snc, Manciano
Opening hours: upon request
Entry price: free
For more information: +39 0564 620532.