Filigree Museum in Campo Ligure
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via della Giustizia, 5 - 16013 Campo Ligure (GE)
L'esterno del museo L'esterno del museo

In Campo Ligure, a beautiful village in the Genoese hinterland, craftsmen use “bruscelle” (pliers) and a welding torch to weld silver threads, re-inventing and creating their embroideries with the same ability of the past: filigree jewels, light and very thin works that copy the arabesque, made using very thin gold and silver threads.

In Italy, filigree work has ancient origins and was already present in Etruscan and Roman jewellery. Barbarian civilizations and Byzantine taste produced new masterpieces and, around 1200 when the Crusades returned, filigree arrived in Genoa and remained there. In Italy, the Campo Ligure handicraftsmen are considered as the sole heirs and keepers of this art, and have been for a long time, indeed from when the master Antonio Oliveri opened his own workshop in 1884 for working with filigree in Campo Ligure, his native land. His example was followed by other craftsmen and soon many other workshops appeared.

In the 1960s, filigree was the main activity of the small town in the many family-run workshops.  The numbers lowered little by little but, despite the passage of time and the industrial revolution, the Campo Ligure craftsmen are still the main custodians of this art. Nothing, or nearly nothing, has changed in the village laboratories; these workers link the ability they have in their hands to the mastery of working gold, which distinguishes itself through tradition and innovation.

The Museum dedicated to this ancient working of gold can be found in the historical centre of the village and it displays about two hundred pieces coming from four continents (Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America). Each object embodies much more than a precious decoration: the traditions, customs, religion, and economy of each Country live inside each piece. Different Countries with different symbols that are made with shapes, colours, filigree patterns, just like in every other artistic expression.

Among the Italian handmade pieces displayed there is also an extraordinary aviary, the biggest object in the museum. The sections devoted to local craftsmanship and machinery that explain the processing technique are also worth seeing.

The Museum was founded in 1984 on the initiative of the public authority and the important contribution of Commendatore (Italian Order of Merit) Pietro Carlo Bosio, to whom the Museum is now dedicated. Bosio was a filigree artisan but more in particular an enthusiastic collector who travelled the world for more than forty years in search of exclusive filigree objects, adding pieces to create a collection that is now unique.

A little bit of history

The Museum is in via della Giustizia, which takes its name from how the historical building was used, namely as the Campofreddo Magistrate’s courthouse (the former name of Campo Ligure) already during the 18th century.
The current configuration of the main palace is the result of an expansion and raising intervention that was planned by the architect Matteo Leoncini and carried out in 1845, determining the building layout that is still present.

The northern section of the building, which was originally a residential semi-detached building of the urban fabric, was united with the rest at the beginning of last century.

In 1974 the building was renovated, with the façades being painted again and internal structural modifications being made.
Finally, during 2006 and 2007 total internal and external reconstruction interventions were carried out to upgrade the structure and the Museum housed inside the building.

The intervention

The building consists of two juxtaposed areas, with different coverings, areas, decorations and colouring. The main area has three floors above ground and an attic floor, with a pitched roof and a rectangular floor. The second area, positioned against the first one, consists of two floors above ground with a flat roof that can be used as a walkable terrace.

The exhibition and polyfunctional rooms are on the different floors of the Public Filigree Museum and the Tourist information and Reception area are in one section of the ground floor.
Thanks to the recent restoration and renovation, the building is in an excellent condition.

Inside a wider programme for developing the Stura Valley museum network, the municipality of Campo Ligure intends to develop and supplement the exhibition route of the Museum to create an interactive and dynamic structure that will become a strategic element for promoting the cultural activities of the district.

With the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Axis 4 of the Por Fesr 2007-2013), improvements will be made to the exhibition spaces using methods and building technologies that are coherent and comply with what was already used for the existing setting, and integrate them by inserting technological equipment and activating a communication and promotion project which offers collection specificness to a wider public.

The reinforcement and integration of the museum structure will, more specifically, include completion of the exhibition route, the construction of the documentation centre hall in the attic rooms, completion of the hall which hosts the antique machinery, the construction of a multi-purpose room which can be used for activities that complement the exhibitions (displays, conferences, and information and cultural events).

The communication project instead includes strengthening the promotion and information activities with the creation of new multimedia tools and printed communication material (catalogues, short guides and leaflets).

The aim of the intervention is to enhance and promote the cultural heritage of the Ligurian hinterland to tourists, even at an international level, and in particular Genoa province, the district of Stura Valley, developing its potentials and as a result favouring economic and employment development.

Nearby

The Castle, restored and now used for concerts and cultural initiatives, stands out in the ancient village of Campo Ligure.
The external walls of the castle could date back from the 12th or 13th century, while the tower is more recent. The Spinola family made it the lookout tower for the village and the Stura valley. Fortified again in 1310, the castle was then abandoned in the eighteenth century.

Entering the historical centre you will encounter many ancient religious buildings: the Oratory of Saints Sebastiano and Rocco, built in 1647 in baroque style with inside, among other works, the Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian by the school of Domenico Piola, the Oratory of Nostra Signora Assunta, mentioned for the first time in a document dated 1585 and also the Church of Nativity of the Virgin Mary with a painting by Bernardo Strozzi.
Spinola Palace, which was built during the first half of the 14th century by the Spinola marquises and expanded in 1693, and the beautiful medieval bridge over the Stura, must not be missed.

Campo Ligure is connected to Polcevere valley by an ancient route that runs along the Ponzema stream, arriving at the Capanne di Marcarolo, a grazing and resort area.

The "Strade Vicinali", instead, lead to Southern Piedmont, just like the other north-western itineraries in Beigua park. The "Valli del latte" (Milk valleys) route includes the main towns in Stura Valley.
The paths, because of their variety and slopes that are not too steep, are ideal routes also for mountain bikes.

Oddities

The 17th century Oratory of Saints Sebastiano and Rocco hosts a mechanical nativity scene, which is set up every year in the period between the week before Christmas and the end of the following January.
The scene covers an area of 70 square metres and a few hundred figurines are positioned on it; some of the figurines move thanks to small motors.

The main theme is obviously the Nativity, but the ancient agricultural and artisan professions of Campo Ligure are also represented. Special attention is given to the different phases of iron working, a leading element of the local economy from the 14th to the 19th century and of course the filigree laboratory is also present.

The first figurines were engraved at the end of the 1800s and in 1910 the chaplain of the oratory Gio Batta Macciò, also known as “Crispi”, inserted the first moving elements.

The nativity scene was initially moved by a bicycle wheel that was made to turn using a handle: the moving statues were connected to a single axis by belts. In 1915, with the arrival of electricity, the wheel was moved by a motor and with the passage of time the number of the statues increased considerably and the scenery became more and more complex.

Mappa
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