Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Isola Pescatori - Museum: A History of the Fishermen

It's too long since I've written so it's time to get back on track. And what better way to do it than with something new to visit on Isola Pescatori, the fishermen's island.

Over last winter five of the islanders (some of them being among the five remaining fishermen) cleared out the old island school house, which closed in 1982, and created a little museum. Months of plastering, renovating the old stone floor, fixing the windows and creating a homely atmosphere. The artefacts and photos tell the story of the Isola Pescatori fishermen who used to number 60.

Entrance to the Museum
The little museum occupies the the ground floor room of the old school house and there are tags on all the artifacts with explanations in Italian and English. You may well even get to meet one of the island fishermen as, when they can, they are at the museum to greet visitors.


This photo shows a model of the traditional Lake Maggiore fishing boats which, before the advent of motorboat engines, used to be man-powered. This meant that sometimes the fishermen were away from the island for up to a week at a time, allowing them to travel far and wide around the lake.

This photos shows the big cauldron which was used to boil the cotton or hemp fishing nets with chestnut shells in oder to dye them. You'll also find the equipment used to make misultin, a kind of dried fish which you can sample at some of the island restaurants. It's pretty strong and salty but really delicious!

All in all it's a cute little museum, filled with all sorts fishing whatnots and interesting notes about life as a fisherman on Isola Pescatori. A local museum, founded by local people ... and we hope they continue and extend to the upstairs!