4 – Seals Museum
At La Spezia’s Ethnographic Museum, on permanent display art materials and popular tradition of the Val di Magra and Val di Vara, dating from the mid-eighteenth century to the first decades of the twentieth century. These elements of social life and everyday rural communities of the area, profoundly changed as a result of industrialization, offer visitors an interesting synthesis of life in Lunigiana in the eighteenth century and early twentieth century. It emerges a simple but rich set of ancient customs, rituals, beliefs; a skilful craftmanshift, capable to transform daily use objects in small artistic masterpieces.
The museum is particularly remarkable and rich in the textile section displaying traditional costumes of the nineteenth century, including festive womens’ dresses from La Spezia, Sarzana and Cinque Terre, with skirts made in turquoise fabric woven with the local chassis, ancestor of the legendary jeans (the word possibly means genoese– from Genoa).
Also notable is the section documenting the gold filigree jewelry, to be worn on festive the days, and the local manufacture with silver crosses, from which women never separated even while working in the fields. Also displayed are the unique braided raffia hats female, whose tiny dimensions had marveled British travelers of the past century visiting the area. But also domestic instruments, votive offerings of popular devotion, objects related to the realm of superstition, the tools associated with farming or herding, the house furniture and furnishings, the carved instruments of spinning and weaving, gifts engagement donated to the bride. All elements are, by their antiquity collection and their originality, a repertoire of rare charm and subtle seduction.