A museum is not a shrine for old and dusty relics, but rather a place for discussing and processing historic memory. The memory of the Resistance does not belong exclusively to partisans but also to farmers, deportees, interns, women and the population as a whole, fighting for survival. Not therefore just armed resistance and political opposition against the Nazi occupants and their Fascist allies, but also the resistance of civilians against war itself, against the air strikes, the hunger, the slaughter. This Museum of the Resistance offers a viewing itinerary that combines recounts of the tragic though decisive moments in the struggle for freedom and democracy in Italy with the surviving images of these same events, creating an environment where witness recollections invite the viewer to interact with the stories, photographs and videos. The Audio-visual Museum of the Resistance (MaR) is the first narrative museum produced in Italy by Studio Azzurro, Milan.
In 1948 a summertime mountain retreat was built on land owned by the City of Sarzana by volunteer workers, former partisans and citizens. From after the war to the summer of 1971 the retreat welcomed thousands of children. In 1994, by initiative of Sarzana’s ANPI association and with the administration’s patronage, the now vacant complex was reassigned to house the Audio-visual Museum of the Resistance of the Provinces of La Spezia and Massa – Carrara, both recipients of golden medals for Military Valor for their populations’ contributions to the struggle to regain freedom and democracy. With support from a variety of public bodies, associations and private citizens, the old retreat was transformed into a monument to peace, in a location that has been the stage of battles between the partisans, Germans and fascists, and that has witnessed destruction and bloodshed of helpless populations.
The Museum was inaugurated on June 3rd 2000 and comprises a modern audio-visual installation and multi-media supports providing organic routes for historic research and educational analyses of issues pertaining to the Resistance and to the formation of democracy in Italy. A visit to the museum is a voyage through nature and history, in a stimulating environment that evokes the partisans’ “uphill march” towards freedom.
The museum is dedicated to the memory of partisan commanders Alessandro Brucellaria – aka “Memo” – and Flavio Bertone – aka “Walter” – and of all who have fought in defence of freedom.
The museum is surrounded by a forest of centennial chestnut trees, while on clear days the panoramic view reaches from Portovenere and the Gulf of Poets all the way to the Apuan Ridge. Located on a symbolic site for the history of the local Resistance movement, where the fight for Liberation was conducted, the building became a mountain retreat for children after the end of the war, as was the partisans’ wish.
Educational viewing itineraries
The museum’s educational workshops focus on subjects linked to the Resistance through activities that complete the tour. Designed for middle and high school students, the workshops can be adapted to meet particular requirements mandated by schedules and course programmes.
Restaurant and events
Located to the side of the complex is the food and wine-focused cultural club “Archivi della Resistenza”, run by an association of volunteers who also manage the museum. The club is closer to a trattoria than to a restaurant, serving traditional local and rural dishes researched and recreated by the collective with the same dedication placed in its historical research activities. Seasonal produce and traditional, local products are preferred: particular attention is used in selecting locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients. While not very large, the dining hall is cosy and often provides the opportunity to meet former partisans who are still quite lively and available to exchange a few “kind” words. During the warmer months meals can also be served outdoors beneath the chestnut trees’ shade. Cultural events (concerts, readings, theatre performances, book presentations, photo exhibits, as well as workshops, seminars and cultural, historical and/or artistic conferences) are organized year-round within the Club, always pared with a selection of foods and wines. During the summer, MaR hosts the festival “Fino al cuore della rivolta” (“To the heart of revolt”), a nationally-recognised event featuring music, theatre, poetry, screenings and debates.
Booking is appreciated: 329/0099418 or 0187 680014, firstname.lastname@example.org