The museum is made up of old tools and objects collected by the engineer Emilio Ferrari (1915 – 1990), and graciously loaned to the museum by his descendants. Although born in Genoa, Emilio Ferrari had a passion for collecting objects and tools from Tuscan rural life. During the 1970s the town of San Donato in Poggio became his adopted home. This move allowed him to scour the Chianti countryside, looking for old workshops and making personal contacts with craftsmen and farmers. Due to his passion for the Tusan rural culture, his good nature and the affection and friendship he nourished for the people of San Donato, he wanted these people to enjoy the fruits of his fie research. The Pro Loco Cultural Association of San Donato, with the support of the Municipality of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, felt instituting a “Museum Emilio Ferrari” was warranted; a project that would entail painstaking cataloguing of all the objects. The curating of the Ferrari collection was carried out by Dr Paolo Calosi, an expert in the Techniques of Agricultural Mechanisation, in collaboration with The Scientific Committee of the Province of Florence.
The cataloguing was embarked upon in March 1989, using an effective method of inventory-making and cataloguing. The final result of Dr Calosi’s cataloguing and subsequent interpretation of the objects and their uses, verified their right to be exhibited in the museum as representative of 19th and 20th century Tuscan rural life and culture.
INSIDE THE MUSEUM
The Museum of Rural Life is comprised of two rooms separated by an archway. At the entrance, on your right there is the Carpentry Panel, with the Cobblers' Panel on the first wall and the Hammersmiths' Panel on the left. Various domestic copper utensils, originating from different regions of Chianti, hang from a rack mounted on the ceiling. Through the archway is the second room. On the right a variety of farmers' tool are displayed; from those used in the fields and for cultivating a kitchen garden, to those used for poaching, including handmade traps. On the panel at the end of the room are displayed: nose-rings, harnesses and other such as equipment necessary for working, training and rearing animals and some specifically for veterinary use; ending with a collection of hoof irons, stirrups and cowbells. To your left, is a large collection of objects and utensils more typically associated with domestic life. If you look at the wall, from right to left, it is possible to distinguish the three main groups of objects related to: the production and conservation of wine and olive oil, housework and ultimately, weaving and textile decoration. The last section has several objects used for weighing, and a TOMBOLA, for drawing Bingo numbers, as well as two interesting late-seventeenth century harpoons.