Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina
Folk life and folk crafts and more in the age-old fortified monastery of San Michele all'Adige.
The Museo degli usi e costumi della Gente Trentina in San Michele all'Adige is an ethnographic museum founded by the Trentino-Bohemian scholar Giuseppe Šebesta in the age-old fortified monastery called Prepositura agostiniana. It is considered one of the most important museums of folk life and crafts in Italy, and is one of the largest of its kind in the Alpine range. Its 41 exhibition rooms, distributed on 4 floors, are arranged by thematic areas, ranging from agriculture to wood, from metal to textile crafts, from livestock breeding to hunting, from religious to folkloristic traditions.
The monastery's oldest official mention harks back to the 1150s. It had been used as the southernmost outpost of German monasticism for centuries. As proof of the visit to the convent by Maximilian I of Hapsburg, one of its large courtyards now hosts the unique painted chess board dated 1516, featuring the name "Maximilianus" for 144 times, as in a sort of curious wall crossword. In 1968 the convent received the collections gathered by ethnographer Giuseppe Šebesta over years of painstaking work in Trentino.