Category Archives: Museo del Cibo – Food Museums

Museo del Cibo – Visit the Carpigiani Gelato Museum

This week the Florence Gelato Festival was the subject of a misunderstanding or evidence that Mayor Renzi does not have his eye on what’s happening in Florence. The Festival was scheduled to run from May 17 to 26, then at the last minute the Mayor’s Office declared that this was too long and was taking up too much valuable space, taking all of the participating gelaterias by surprise. The organizers of the Festival took the city to court and prevailed, so the festival will run until next Sunday. Check the official website for more information.


One of the major participants in the Festival is Carpigiani, the largest manufacturer of equipment for gelaterias, restaurants and other businesses, as well as for in-home use. Tuscan Traveler enjoyed a few days at Carpigiani’s Gelato University a couple of years ago and is happy to announce that the Carpigiani Gelato Museum has joined the pantheon of food museums in Italy. (Also see here and here.)

Carpigiani Gelato Museum near Bologna
Carpigiani Gelato Museum near Bologna

The Gelato Museum is innovative, dedicated to the study, documentation, and dissemination of the history, values, and culture of artisan gelato, a beloved treat (or rather, necessity) that represents Italian excellence and creativity throughout the world. (Carpigiani has the company goal of taking gelato to every corner of the earth.)

“The objective of the Carpigiani Gelato Museum is to highlight the roots and history of this quality food and the gelato artisans that produce it, bringing excellence, creativity, and flavor to customers worldwide,” said Romano Verardi, President of the Bruto and Poerio Carpigiani Foundation. “We are pleased that this initiative came together just a short time after the official establishment of the European Gelato Day.” (The EU has named March 24 as the annual European Day of Artisan Gelato, first celebrated in 2013.)

1958 One of the first soft serve Carpigiani gelato vans
1958 One of the first soft serve Carpigiani gelato vans

The thousand square meter museum space was created in the current Carpigiani headquarters near Bologna. The complex is built around a central garden that connects the various areas of the building, including showrooms and the Carpigiani Gelato Museum, itself.

The museum features an interactive tour that highlights three principal themes regarding gelato: the evolution of gelato over time, the history of production technology, and the places and ways to consume gelato. More than twenty original machines are on display, along with multimedia presentations, 10,000 historical images and documents, accessories and tools of the trade from ages past, and workshops.

Antique tin boxes for storing gelato cones
Antique tin boxes for storing gelato cones

“The Gelato Museum fulfills the dream of our founders, Bruto and Poerio Carpigiani, the two Bolognese brothers who made it their job to spread gelato technology, culture, and business throughout the world,” says Andrea Cocchi, General Manager of the Carpigiani Group. “The challenge is now to reaffirm the historical memory of our roots so as to strengthen our future, leading us to progress, innovate, and expand our culture.”

The museum has gathered a number of audio-visual testimonies from people who have played a key role in the history of gelato.  Gelato’s place in history is recognized by UNESCO as part of the world’s nutritional heritage.

The Carpigiani Gelato Museum is located along the highway to Milan at Via Emilia 45, in Anzola dell’Emilia, Bologna.

Open Monday to Saturday, tickets free with guided tour, reservation required.

Information and reservations: – +39 051 6505306 –

Learning labs at the Gelato Museum for children
Learning labs at the Gelato Museum for children

If you are in the Bologna area for more than a few hours take part in tasty gelato lessons after visiting the museum. Choose the experience that entices you most and enter the world of artisan gelato. The activities are conducted by the instructors of Carpigiani Gelato University, the most prestigious gelato school in the world. Check out the website here for the family events and the small group classes at the Gelato Museum ranging from a one hour tour with gelato tasting (5 euro per person), to a two hour tour with hands-on gelato making lesson, gelato tasting, certificate and group photo (10 euro per person, ten person minimum), to the fabulous four-hour tour, gelato theory lesson, hands-on gelato class to create your own flavor, gelato tasting, certificate and group photo (35 euro per person (min. two participants, max. six participants).

There are also shorter duration classes designed especially for children. See here for details.

Mille Miglia pit stop for gelato
Mille Miglia pit stop for gelato

Just a couple of weeks ago, Carpigiani played host for a few hours to one of Tuscan Traveler’s favorite all-Italy events: The Mille Miglia Antique Car Endurance Road Race. See the video here.



Italian Food Rules: The BookItalian Life Rules (the book) is coming in Summer 2014. Italian Food Rules by Ann Reavis is available now. You can buy Italian Food Rules by using these links:

Amazon. com (U.S.) eBook for Kindle & Kindle Apps

Amazon. com (U.S.) paperback (United Kingdom) (Italy) (Germany) (France)

Barnes & Noble (U.S.) eBook for Nook

Dove Vai? – Olive Oil Museums of Italy, Museo del Cibo #4

photo from eatdrinkbetter.comOf all of the Musei del Cibo (Museums of Food) in Italy, there are probably more dedicated to olives and olive oil than any other (except, perhaps, wine). Tuscany has the best olive oil (according to this writer), so it is a decided disappointment that the region has only one measly museum (and perhaps another, rumored to be in Carmignano) dedicated to the golden-green oil.

As the new 2009 extra virgin cold press Italian olive oil is released to the impatient masses, the following is a survey of some – but not all – of the Musei dell’Olio d’Oliva.


Museo dell’Antica Grancia di Serre

The Museum of the Ancient Serre Grange is housed in a grange (fortified farm) situated in the Sienese countryside. Its fortification, which served to safeguard the stores from incursions, represents an interesting architectural type. In 2001, the museum  was inaugurated, divided into two sections, the Olive Oil Museum and the Grange Documentation Center. The first of these museums, housed in an ancient frantoio (olive-mill), displays a collection of implements and materials from the early 20th century pertinent to olive-growing and the production of olive oil.

Address: Via dell’Antica Grancia 3, Rapolano Terme, Serre di Rapolano (SI)

There is no museum website, but it is described in the website of the Florence History of Science Museum.

photo from


Museo dell’ Olivo – Fratelli Carli Possibly the most interesting and complete of all of the Italian olive oil museums, the Olive Museum in Onelia was established to house a variety of objects collected over decades by the Carli olive oil company, founded in 1911. Housed in a small Art Nouveau mansion (1920), which was the company’s headquarters, it is still surrounded by the olive-oil factory. The same building accommodates a library dedicated to the olive and olive oil, while a cafeteria and a museum shop are in an adjacent building. The collection includes several rare objects, antiques and archaeological finds. All the exhibits tell the story of the customs, costumes, tools, production methods, commerce, without omitting the philosophical and artistic – the olive tree has inspired poets, authors and painters for more than a thousand years. The Olive Museum received the European Museum of the Year Award for 1993.

photo from Address: Via Garessio 13, 
18100 Oneglia (IM)

Official Website (occasionally out of order)


Museo della Civiltà dell’ Olivo

The Museum of the Olive Culture, the first public museum of its kind in Italy and in Europe, is housed in an old Franciscan monastery, which also includes the church of St Francis and a collection of works of arts. Divided into four sections (“Botany”, “Getting to know the olive and olive oil”, “The olive as a symbol of peace”, “The history of the olive”) the museum utilizes multi-media to tell its story. The Ro Marcerano** sketches amuse and educate children. The texts presenting the olive in history, botany and agronomy complement corresponding tables with data from the National Research Center. Interactive devices provide information on pressing techniques, while documentary films show such details as the manufacture of the sacks made of goat hair in which the crushed olive mush is placed for compression, and the phases of high-density cultivation, including tree pruning.

Address: Musei di San Francesco, Chiesa di San Francesco, 06039 Trevi (PG)

The official website has no information about opening times or ticket prices.

Museo dell’ Olivo e dell’ Olio – Fondazione Lungarotti

photo from The Museum of Olive and Olive Oil was established in 2000 by the Lungarotti Foundation in a small nucleus of Medieval residences, where many decades ago an olive press operated in Torgiano’s historic center. The museum is organized in ten rooms and the tour starts with information about the phytological characteristics of the olive, the varieties grown in Umbria, and the various methods for olive cultivation and olive oil extraction, from the traditional to ultra-modern techniques. The presence of the olive and olive oil in daily life, and their use and importance throughout the centuries are also explored. These exhibits examine the mythological origin of the plant and the use of olive oil for lighting, in rituals of major western religions. The role of olive oil in medicine and in the diet, in sports, in cosmetics, for heating are described.  Finanly, popular beliefs attributed to the tree and its product – symbolic, appeasing, deterrent and therapeutic – are explored.

Address: Via Garibaldi, 10 
06089 Torgiano (Perugia)

Official Website and another claiming the museum as one of the attributes of Bella Umbria.

Frantoio Bartolomei Olive Oil Museum

olive-harvest3The Vecchio Frantoio Bartolomei has an extensive collection of old machinery and vintage objects used in the cultivation of olives. The exhibition provides an itinerary that takes the visitor through the phases of the production of olive oil, from the growing of the olive trees, to the gathering of the fruit, from their processing to the storing of the golden oil. A 16th century press is one highlight of the collection.

Address:  Via Cagnano, 6 – 05020 Montecchio (Terni)

Official Website


Museo dell’Olio della Sabina Located in the village of Castelnuovo di Farfa, the Sabina Olive Oil Museum holds a rare collection of olive presses, which attest the evolution of olive oil production in the region over the course of four centuries. The museum is unique in its use of the works of five internationally renowned artists (A. Cavaliere, G. Gazzola, M. Lai, H. Nagasawa and I. Strazza), who, with music and sculpture as their tools, explain and honor the important role played by olive oil in civilization.

Address:  Via Perelli, 7
02031 Castelnuovo di Farfa (RI)

This museum has many fans, especially in Great Britain where it has been written up in the Independent and the Telegraph.  It was also mentioned in a trip report.


Museo dell’Olio – Oleifico Cisano del Garda The Olive Oil Museum at Cisano of Bardolino, near Lake Garda, was established by the Cisano del Garda Oil Mill, which has been operating since 1936. The museum’s most important exhibits include an ancient olive-press with a lever, grindstones, screw presses and the reconstruction of a 19th century hydraulic press, as well as a centrifugal separator from the 1930s and various containers used to store the final product, including the characteristic stone jars of the Garda-Verona region.

Address: Via Peschiera, 54
37011 Cisano di Bardolino (VR)

Official Website with virtual tour. Military families from the nearby U.S. base include this museum in their visits to Lake Garda as reported in the Stars & Stripes.

photo from


Museo dell’ Olio di Oliva Sant’ Angelo de Graecis

Created in the 400-year-old building that housed the olive press of the Sant’ Angelo de Graecis estate, the Museum of Olive Oil includes a collection of machinery and equipment attesting the history of olive oil production from the late 17th century until the early 1900s.

Address: Contrada S. Angelo, 5
72015 Fasano (Br)

There is no official website, but it is mentioned in a travel site and the details of the museum’s hours are on the Fasano website.

photo from


The Museum of Olive Oil of Cantinarte

Located in the small village of Bucchianico near Chieti, the Olive Oil Museum offers a view of olive oil production as practiced in the 18th century using stone and wood machines powered by man and donkey. The museum is housed in an ancient frantoio where the interior spaces and architectural details have been restored with special care to authentic detail.

Address: Via San Camillo 21, 66011 Bucchianico

photo from Official Website and the website  Abruzzo Today describes the museum.

Museo dell’ Olio di Loreto Aprutino

The small Abruzzo hill town of  Loreto Aprutino has five – yes, five – museums. One is all about olive oil. It is housed in the New Gothic-stlye castle, itself worthy of a visit. A 90 minute guided tour is included in the 6 euro ticket price.

Address: Via C. Battisti, 65014 Loreto Aprutino (PE)

Official Website and bloggers About Abruzzo and Life in Abruzzo describe the olive oil museum and the castle.

All About Olive Oil Museums

For information about Olive Oil Museums anywhere in the Mediterranean check out the Olive Oil Museums site.

Best Photo of Olive Oil

National Geographic’s Photo of the Day – Olive Oil: Elixir of the Gods

Next time:  Museo del Gusto – the Taste Museum

Dove Vai? – Balsamic Vinegar Museum, Museo del Cibo #3

While visiting the Musei del Cibo in the region around Parma, a visitor will find a rewarding short detour to the Balsamic Vinegar Museum (Museo del Balsamico Tradizionale) in Spilamberto, less than ten miles southeast of Modena.

Casks used to ferment Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
Casks used to ferment Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale) is produced in the area around Modena, which was once the ancient lands of the ducal family of Este.

Acelto Balsamico Tradizionale of Dukes of Este (18th cent.)
Acelto Balsamico Tradizionale of Dukes of Este (18th cent.)

With no addition of any aromatic substances, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is obtained from cooked grape-must, which is slowly turned into a rich, think, sweet deep caramel-colored liquid from natural fermentation and progressive concentration through a very long (10 to 100 years) ageing process in a set of progressively smaller casks of different kinds of wood.

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is a deep, dark and bright brown color with a smooth thick density. The taste is a well balanced sweet and sour that changes depending on the types of wood used for the aging.

The main difference between the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar and all other vinegars is not only the material from which it is obtained, but most of all the alchemy of time together with the knowledge and know-how of a tradition of ancient origin.

The so-called balsamic vinegar, found in the U.S. at neighborhood supermarkets or on the table of most Italian restaurants, is frequently made of a splash of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale mixed with a large quantity of regular red wine vinegar, or worse, is sweetened red wine vinegar with caramel coloring.

Copper-lined Pot used to Cook Grape-must for Balsamic Vinegar
Copper-lined Pot used to Cook Grape-must for Balsamic Vinegar

The Museo Balsamico Tradizionale provides a comprehensive explanation, through both an English-language film and rooms filled with ancient and modern equipment, of the deceptively simple process for making this sublime nectar.

Bottles of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale made in Modena
Bottles of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena

The museum is compact, but a visitor emerges with an understanding of the history, culture and pride of the producers located in a narrow a strip of land in the Italy’s Emilia Region. The museum displays reveal true complexity of the product’s preparation that time and experience have made perfect; argues for the need to protect its name, control its genuineness and regulate its production so as to avoid any form of industrialization.

Museo del Balsamico Tradizionale

Villa Comunale Fabriani
Via Roncati, 28
41057 Spilamberto (Mo)

tel. +39 059 781614
fax +39 059 7861913



Tuesday to Sunday 9.30 – 13.00 / 15.00 – 19.00

The Museum is closed for holidays, including December 23 – 25, and January 1.


€ 2,00
€ 4,00 w/ tasting (only on Sunday morning or by reservation)
€ 1,00 for seniors over 65
Free for minors under 18

Guided Visit:

Only with prior reservation:

Web Site:

Dove Vai? – The Prosciutto Museum, Museo del Cibo #2

The Museum of Prosciutto and Cured Meat Products of Parma is located in the small city Langhirano, west of Parma,in the site of the former cattle market between the historic center and the Parma River.

Cured Meats Celebrated by Museo del Prosciutto
Savory cured meats hand-made in Parma

For centuries and still today the area south of the Po River and north of the Apennine ridge of mountains, is famed for its prosciutto, cured hams.  It is a land rich in oaks yielding acorns for feeding pigs; guaranteed a supply of special preserving salt from thermal springs; and blessed by the marine winds from the Mediterranean Sea for drying the savory haunches.

Museum of Prosciutto and Cured Meats of Parma
Museum of Prosciutto and Cured Meats of Parma

The Museum of the Prosciutto and cured Meats of Parma is dedicated to these gifts of nature, to the gastronomic culture that developed prosciutto, to its history and to the generations of people who have faithfully passed on its secrets.

Inside the museum, there is an exhibition detailing the production of Parma’s prized cured meats. You can also follow the changes in production methods from ancient pork butchery to modern technologies.

Prosciutto hand-made in 1930 using methods still used today
Prosciutto hand-made in 1930 using methods still practiced today

There are eight sections in the museum composed of photographs, historic documents, machinery, and audio-visual productions. The museum strives to define the region, the pig breeds used for certain products, the historic and political role of salt, pork butchery, and the many types of traditional Parma salumi (cured meats). There is also information about importance of the Prosciutto di Parma Consortium and their work to safeguard quality.

Popular Saying Celebrating Prosciutto del Parma
High praise for the cured meats of Parma

A visit to the museum ends in the tasting room where a variety of sliced meats and local products are served.  For a very special afternoon, add a tasting of local wines.

Museum of Prosciutto and Cured Meats of Parma

Via Bocchialini, 7
Langhirano (PR)

Open to the public:

From March 1 to 8 December
Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 10.00 – 18.00
Monday to Friday: by appointment for groups

From December to February:  Closed

Ticket Prices:

Full:  € 3.00
Reduced:  € 2.00 groups (minimum 15 people), adults over 65 years
Reduced for schools:  € 1.50 schools and children from 6 to 12 years
Free:  disabled and their escorts, children under 6 years

Sampling of Prosciutto di Parma:

Full:  € 3.00
Reduced:  € 1.50 (for children under 15 years)

Guided tours

For groups of up to 25 people: € 20.00 in addition to the ticket price – reservation necessary.

Museum Shop

Publications and typical products of the territory.

Information and reservations (required for groups and schools):

IAT Torrechiara: Tel. +39-0521-355009 – Fax. +39-0521-355821

Museum of Prosciutto: Tel. +39-0521.864324


Web Site:

Dove Vai? – The Parmesan Museum, Museo del Cibo #1

Northwest of Parma, on the edge of the small town of Soragna, is the oldest of the new food museums, musei del cibo, organized in the last five years in north-central Italy. The Parmesan Cheese Museum, Museo del Parmigiano Reggiano, is worth a detour, especially if you pair it with a visit to a modern Parmesan cheese factory in Soragna.

Parmigiano Reggiano - The King of Cheeses
Parmigiano Reggiano - The King of Cheeses

The famed quality of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is the excellent and well-balanced result of many factors, from the particular lushness of pasturelands and milk, to the artisan techniques of production (unchanged for seven centuries), to natural ripening and maturing processes (a total absence of preservatives, additives, anti-fermenting agents or colorants), together with the rigorous quality controls imposed by the Consortium of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (begun in 1934).  The Consortium brought together the cheese producers working in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantova and Bologna, which constitutes the protected production zone.

The latest statistics (2002) counted 547 Consortium members, who relied on 270,000 cows belonging to 7,000 farmers for their milk. Annually about 409,425,000 gallons of milk are used to make 245,691,900 pounds of cheese, for a total of 2,937,535 wheels. Between 88-90% of these wheels are eaten in Italy. An average of 90,000 wheels are exported every year to the USA. Producing a pound of Parmesan takes about two gallons of milk and each wheel weighs an average of 66 pounds.

Museum of Parmesan Cheese - Soragna, Italy
Museum of Parmesan Cheese - Soragna, Italy

Housed in the only surviving mid-19th century round casello of the cheese works once owned by the Prince Meli Lupi, the Parmesan Cheese Museum has three rooms. In the first, the various production phases of the cheese, which is only made between April 15 and November 15 when the animal feed (mixed grasses and clover) is at its best and the milk at its richest, are explained through the display of equipment and hundreds of utensils necessary for hand-making and distributing this “king of cheese.” An 18th-century copper cauldron, an old milk wagon that was pulled by hand, an early steam boiler to heat the milk in the cauldron uniformly, and an early 20th-century churn are included in the collection.

Copper Pots for making Parmesan Cheese
Copper Pots for making Parmesan Cheese

In the second display room, called Sala della Salamoia or Curing or Salting Room, are panels illustrating the history of Parmesan, which was mentioned by Columella, Varro, and Martial, and seems to go back to ancient Roman times, but the first surviving historical documents date to Parma’s Abbey of S. Martino dei Bocci in the late 1290s. At first the wheels were only 3.2 inches high in contrast with the 10 inches of today. They were covered with salt instead of immersed in salt water. Boccaccio’s Decameron (1348-49) boasts the cheese’s first literary reference: in the third story of the eighth day, the poet poked fun at the gullibility of Calandrino, one of his characters, by having him believe that in Bengodi, in Parmesan country, there was a mountain consisting entirely of grated cheese and that the people who lived there did nothing, but cook macaroni and ravioli, which they rolled down the slopes so that the pasta arrived at the bottom coated with fragrant cheese.

Floor Plan of the Museo del Parmigiano Reggiano
Floor Plan of the Museo del Parmigiano Reggiano

The third room, the Sala del Latte or Milk Room, is devoted to the ageing process – at least two years (vecchio or old), better yet three (stravecchio or very old), and preferably four  (stravecchione or the oldest) – and to the history of the Consorzio or the consortium, the producers’ co-operative.  An excellent English language film presents the history and process of making Parmesan cheese.

A tasting of Parmesan cheese is offered after your visit.

A quaint little private farm museum is situated in the modern part of the building and is open only if the proprietor is there.

The Museum of Parmigiano-Reggiano:

c/o Corte Castellazzi,
Via Volta, 5
Soragna (Parma)

Opening Hours:

From March 1 to 8 December
Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 10.00 – 13.00, 15.00 – 18:00
Monday to Friday, only by booking

From December to February
Closed.  Access to the museum is possible only by booking.

Fee, including tasting:

€ 5 single ticket,
€ 4 groups over 15 people and over 65’s,
€ 3 reduced ticket for obligatory schools (accompanying teachers free) and children between 6 – 12 years,
Free handicapped entrance with accompaniers, accompanying teachers, journalists and children under 6.

Guided Tours:

On booking you can also book a guided tour.  As well as the entrance ticket each tour costs € 20 for a maximum of 25 people

Booking for Groups:

Telephone:  +39.0524.596129


Web Site: