Ecomuseum of Pastoralism

Ecomuseum of Pastoralism

Sambucana sheep breed

The pillar of sheep farming ecomuseum is the recovery and revival of Sambucana sheep breed. The project is focused on two main axes: on one hand, the actual recovery of the Sambucana breed and, on the other, the revival of the culture and tradition linked to sheep farming practiced in the Stura valley and its foothills in the French Crau, where the valley shepherds have worked as labourers for decades. The two main ideas of the project have not been developed along two separate paths but have complemented each other, as is reflected in the figure of the shepherd, meant as sheep farmer but also as custodian of a thousand-year old tradition of knowledge and practices that were at risk of being lost.

The ecomuseum was originally housed in a building located in the middle of the small alpine village of Pontebernardo that was  then purchased by the “Comunità Montana”, renovated and equipped to host groups of visitors, temporary exhibitions and educational activities. On the ground floor of this building a cheese dairy has recently been set up to allow the families of the shepherds residing in the area to produce the excellent sheep cheese. The same dairy is also an important educational tool because it is visited by school groups that can watch the whole cheese making process.

The second building and its ground floor have hosted for several years a Centre of Rams, managed by the Escaroun Consortium. On the first floor, it houses the permanent museum of sheep farming that through a specific path in a large, bright room, aims to provide the visitor a wide- ranging view on sheep farming and pastoralism. The exhibition representing the local area, associated directly with local products and flavours, will be hosted in the space adjacent to the dairy. On the upper floor a tasting area will be set up; this is why the facility is being referred to as the “house of taste”. In the larger building there is also a newly equipped store, where visitors can buy the precious artifacts of Sambucana sheep’s wool.



Name of the Ecomuseum: Ecomuseo della pastorizia

Geographical location: Italy, Piedmont region, province of Cuneo

Year of establishment: 2000

Network: Association of Piedmont ecomuseum network