When your neck is aching from admiring the magnificence of the Basilica of the “Madonna di San Marco”, when the fair is over and all the screams and laughter have given way to the peaceful atmosphere which normally reigns over this little corner of the world – what next? Plenty, much more than you think.
Booklovers will be in their element once inside the antique library of the Seminary, where the air is incensed with the smell of knowledge and passion (and yes, ok – a little bit of dust!) It houses 12.800 volumes, 260 of which date back to the 15oo’s, and others which range from the 16oo’s up to 1920. Several beautiful handmade books are on display; delicate parchment pages, exquisitely crafted leather covers with precious little padlocks which have survived the ages and reached present day. There is also a modern library of 12.000 more volumes, which includes a reading lounge, and from which it is possibile to borrow books.
Then what? Incredible but true, the Seminary accomodates 10 different museums, based on various themes:
The Parmigiani Gallery; a collection of 80 paintings – mainly religious works- dating from 1550 to 1800, but also including a few contemporary pieces.
Opera Omnia di Romeo Musa; a rare collection of xylographs by this local artist (1882-1960), who was inspired in his work by the daily life of humble farming families of the period, giving us an insight into life as it was back then. His xylographic tecniques were very innovative and interesting.
Museum and Study Centre dedicated to Cardinal Agostino Casaroli; the Cardinal received his education at the Seminary, and went on to become the State Secretary of the Vatican from 1979 to 1990. Photos, documents and various objects of interest related to his life are exhibited here.
The Cardinal Opilio Rossi exhibition is dedicated to this clergyman who was born in New York in 1910, but whose family had roots in Bedonia. The material is mainly used for research purposes.
The emigration archives; a collection of documents related to the mass emigration phenomenum which took place in the Taro and Ceno valleys between the 16th and 20th centuries. These are also used for research purposes by people who desire information about ancestors in the area.
Exhibition of popular devotion; a display of sacred statues, paintings, miniatures, rosaries and the like, amongst which a cross made of moulten steel, obtained from remnants of the Twin Towers in New York.
The Natural history museum; fundamentally an educational project, this museum exhibits stuffed animals, minerals and shells in the first section. The second section contains dioramas displaying replicas of natural environments of the Taro Valley and their inhabitants, all very life-like.
The archaeological museum; opened in the year 2000, the hall displays a large number of relics discovered in various parts of the area, evidence of ancient human settlement in the Taro Valley. This museum is a result of research carried out by Prof. Angelo Ghiretti and his students.
Planetarium and laboratory; an educational project born in the 80’s , this structure can accomodate approximately 50 people, and allows the visitor to observe the night sky. It is necessary to book visits, whilst during the summer season, observation evenings of the stars are organized on the Cappelletta Pass.
San Marco Audio-visual Centre; recordings, production and collection of audio-visual material related to the Seminary and local culture in general can be consulted.
May no one say that there is nothing to do in Bedonia!