Museum of the sheep farming culture of Fonni

A permanent exposition to narrate the pastoral world of yesterday and today.

The life of the shepherd is hard! His hard life made of misery, hunger, loneliness and sacrifice has been celebrated by many Sardinian poets and writers who regularly showed not only these tragic aspects but also the richness, authenticity and versatility of this figure, a central element of Sardinian culture for generations.

The community of Fonni is one of the Sardinian places where the presence of the shepherd has always been very strong and deeply rooted. The only way to revive this figure, to represent it in its natural essence was to "show it" through a museum and to define clearly and precisely its importance within the Sardinian society.

Foto by B. Manunza -
Foto by B. Manunza -

An ancient manor house in the historic center of the village, with a traditional interior and a cobbled porch, is the ideal place able to speak about the world of the Sardinian shepherd; a place where even the female figure carves out an important space.

The rooms are spread over three floors, which identify the main conceptual sections of the museum project. Each expositive hall has been set up according to the specific characteristics and display requirements and faithfully reproduces the figures that gravitate within the shepherd society in general, and specifically Barbagian.

After a first section reserved to the nomadic shepherd life, you access the first floor, where an entire room is dedicated to the female figure. The role of women was fundamental in the household because she looked after the children when her husband was away during the cold season, to winter with his flock in the warmer lowlands, and she had to bake bread and to look alone after the family.

Very interesting are the rooms where are placed the objects for spinning and weaving and the hall of festivities, probably the most fascinating of the museum, which houses the traditional Carnival masks and the traditional dresses of Fonni and it is enhanced by the presence of a beautiful co'one 'e frores, a sumptuous ceremonial bread packed every year for St. John's festival.

It stands out among other things, a beautiful painting by Giuseppe Biasi dating back to 1920.

Photo by C. Vinci
Photo by C. Vinci

At the top floor of the building there is the room dedicated more specifically to the figure of the shepherd.

Here there is an extensive exhibition of the tools used by the shepherd, the typical objects of his daily work, but the emphasis is also on its places of life, the difficulties and pitfalls of this profession, on transhumance, revenges and solidarity among shepherds.

Finally, you pass in the restricted area dedicated at the modern figure of the shepherd, where are deal the today's challenges of sheep farming and are explained, through the aid of films and projections, which way will take this activity over the coming years.

The Museum of the culture of the herding of Fonni is a place of memories, where the intent to reconstruct an identity masterfully reaches its goal, where membership of a community is a distinctive sign and it is found everywhere and where the revival of hardness of this lifestyle is accentuated by the existence of objects that seem to keep still intact their primordial function.

Images of a living past reemerge from the lines of tools, in the purity of the faces captured in the many old pictures and in the integrity of the environment.

Today, the chariot wheels were replaced by the roar of the engines of off-road and many things have changed over the years, but the figure of the shepherd, even with a thousand inevitable transformations, still survives. Therefore it resists even this immense cultural heritage, made of pristine and remote snapshots and, despite all the pitfalls, (both technological and globalizing), the Sardinians still held tightly the figure of the shepherd, as a reference point and as an ideal of the strongest elements of identity.



Museum of sheep farming culture

Vico Gennargentu, 08023 Fonni (NU)



Tel: +39 0784 1876113

Hours: daily, including holidays, from 10.30 to 13.00 and from 15.00 to 17.30 (closed on Mondays, except by reservation for groups over 15 people and schools).

Ticket: € 4.50 (full price) € 3.00 (reduced for students and groups over 15 persons) € 8.00 (cumulative with museum and archaeological sites of Madau and Gremanu).


01 July 2015

Mauro Cuccu
©2024 Copyright - Sandalyon