The Farmer's Museum at Tschötscherhof in S. Osvaldo, Altipiano dello Sciliar
If you come to the Altipiano dello Sciliar in South Tyrol, today you can´t imagine life as it was several centuries ago in this region. On the one hand the whole region is dominated by tourism. On the other hand the farm work is taking over mostly by machines today which had to be done by hand under hardest conditions in former times.
To make life in the past real for visitors, a farmer´s museum was set up in San Osvaldo. The place itself, which is located below Castelrotto, provides optimal conditions. San Osvaldo has only a few yards, the everyday stress seems to be a foreign word. Far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, a visitor in St. Oswald can enjoy the lovely of nature. By the way: Here lives Norbert Rier, the band leader and singer of the Kastelruther Spatzen.
But as idyllic the village may be – the life was extremely difficult in the past. To get a correctly sight of that live, a visit of the Farmer´s museum is important. You find the museum in a more than 500 year old farmhouse, the Tschötscherhof. He waits for its guests.
In the old farm many craft tools and machines can be visited on two levels, which were in use by the farmers for their survival. The exhibits, that can be seen are mostly not longer in use and have been replaced by modern machines for a long time. It is possibly that this exhibits had only be known by stories of grandparents. Farming tools, agricultural machinery and equipment for their production of wool and for the household are the witnesses of the past.
Visitors of the farmer´s museum learned that the craft played an important role in St. Osvaldo. This is why the inhabitants of the fraction of Castelrotto had no other choice as to work by craft work itself in different ways because there they had no full-time craftsmen and shortage of money. This was reinforced by the fact that the alpine farmers always had to supply for themselves.
Today the woodworking craft is still on the Tschötscherhof. But it works only for the personal use. You have to know, that in further times everything the farmers needed for living and surviving had been made in San Osvaldo. They not only produced the equipment for horse and ox carts. Even bespoke coffins for the deceased inhabitants of San Osvaldo belonged to the wood crafting art of the farmers.
Customs and religious beliefs
In the Farmer´s museum will not be exhibited only machinery and equipment. The museum shows an insight into customs and religious beliefs of former residents of San Osvaldo. The closeness with God and nature will be almost alive for visitors. For example, you can read on pieces of cloth embroidered words like:
“Don´t ask what people say. Do what you have to do consequently. God will not ask the people at your judgment day.” or “Jesus gives to your journey to heaven his own flesh and blood for food”.
All that help should not be searched on earth is illustrated with the following statement: “Does your life pushes you in a certain direction, look to heaven. Let people be people, only God can help.”
Moreover, the alpine farmers thought that the deceased met God personally directly after death. For this reason, every effort was made to ensure that the dying person can prepare in the hour of death for this encounter, which decides the way to heaven or to hell. Even today, the tradition to dying and death is deeply rooted in the population. In the farmer´s museum a sub-plot is reserved to this tradition. The visitor can understand how the population is handled with death from the hour of death and the house laying up to the funeral.
It is impressive how the Hereafter is even today a reality for the population and they know that a bond to this world and the material goods does not help anyone to spend eternity with God.
The museum opens daily from March to November open every day except Wednesdays, between 9 a. m. and 10 p. m. The entrance to the museum is free of charge. A voluntary donation is possible for the generous insights into the former peasant life in San Osvaldo.
If you want to eat something after visiting the farmer´s museum, the operator of the Tschötscherhof offers a typical South Tyrolean cuisine and pampers guests culinary.