Chestnut farming, chestnuts and roast chestnut sellers


Category:
Knowledge concerning nature
  • Social practices
  • Traditional craftsmanship
Canton:

Description

Chestnut groves or selve are part of Italian-speaking Switzerland’s cultural heritage and have a great deal of significance for the local ecology and landscape. This is why a number of projects to restore them have been launched over the past 20 years. The sweet chestnut played a vital role in nutrition across much of the country’s Italian-speaking zone for centuries. Its storage was particularly important, with small buildings erected especially for this purpose. The traditional drying methods are enjoying a resurgence in popularity today, mostly for educational purposes in the form of demonstrations and as a way of reviving local culture and history. Every autumn, various events are held at which chestnuts and products made from them are sold and eaten in many different forms – not least the roasted marroni. Roast chestnut sellers are still a common sight in town squares and at fairs, festivals and markets. The first roasters documented as offering their wares in the towns of Switzerland and other European countries came mainly from the Blenio Valley and the Leventina region. Some of them still pass the trade on down through their family, though others hand their tools over to people outside their circle of relatives and friends.

Image gallery

  • Chestnut grove in Caneggio, Muggio Valley © Paolo Crivelli/MEVM
  • Row of trees in the Caneggio chestnut grove, Muggio Valley © Paolo Crivelli/MEVM
  • Chestnut bashing in Castasegna, Val Bregaglia © Max Weiss/Montabella Verlag
  • Sieving the dried fruit © Max Weiss/Montabella Verlag
  • Sorting the dried chestnuts © Max Weiss/Montanella Verlag
  • Roast chestnut seller on Piazza Dante, Lugano
  • Chestnut grove in Caneggio, Muggio Valley © Paolo Crivelli/MEVM
  • Row of trees in the Caneggio chestnut grove, Muggio Valley © Paolo Crivelli/MEVM
  • Chestnut bashing in Castasegna, Val Bregaglia © Max Weiss/Montabella Verlag
  • Sieving the dried fruit © Max Weiss/Montabella Verlag
  • Sorting the dried chestnuts © Max Weiss/Montanella Verlag
  • Roast chestnut seller on Piazza Dante, Lugano

Video

Le Mille e una Castagna © Alessandra Bobbià

References and documentation

Publications
  • Natalia Ferroni: Profüm da castegn da la grà. A Moghegno rivive un’antica tradizione. In: Agricoltore ticinese 44. Lugano,1995

  • Interviste (a cura di Alessandra Bobbià): Gianpiero Invernizzi (09.11.2010, 09.02.2011), Giuliano Strazzini (09.02.2011), Marzio Strazzini (28.03.2011), Giovanni Scozzari (29.03.2011). Centro di dialettologia e di etnografia. Bellinzona

  • Hans Käser: Die Kastanienkultur und ihre Terminologie in Oberitalien und in der Südschweiz. Aarau, 1932

  • Remo Maurizio: Aufbewahrungsmethode der Kastanienfrüchte im Bergell. In: Jahresbericht der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Graubündens 100. 1983, p. 167-170

  • Laura Sofia: Castagna. Estratto dal Vocabolario dei dialetti della Svizzera italiana (Le voci 5). Bellinzona, 2001

  • Mengia Spreiter-Gallin: Castasegna. Località di confine. / Castasegna: Ein Grenzdorf. St. Moritz, 2006

  • Mario Vicari: Documenti orali della Svizzera italiana. Valle di Blenio. Seconda parte. Ed. Ufficio cantonale dei musei - Vocabolario dei dialetti della Svizzera italiana. Bellinzona, 1995

  • Mario Vicari: Documenti orali della Svizzera italiana. Valle Leventina. Prima parte. Ed. Centro di dialettologia e di etnografia. Bellinzona, 2005

Documentation