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Art, Culture & Faith
Tourist attractions

Museo dello Spazzacamino

Valli dell'Ossola

Museum Network: Associazione Musei d'Ossola

As black as a chimney sweep? Not always...

The museum tells the story of the hard work of chimney sweeps, which has characterised life in the Vigezzo Valley for centuries since the 1500s. The contribution of young "rusca" children has always been decisive in this trade, a phenomenon that mainly affected the valley in the decades between the 19th and 20th centuries. Hundreds of six- and seven-year-olds would spend the season (from September to April) and Christmas away from home amidst the plains' smoke, frost, and fog. Parents subjected their children to this harsh experience to have one less mouth to feed during the long winter. It was a life of hardship, deprivation, and suffering for the rusca babies because their masters, with few exceptions, were cruel and would not spare them. The phenomenon of the little rusca ended between 1940 and 1950 with the disappearance of the fireplaces, which were replaced by stoves and modern heating systems.

Accessibility: internal lift
Schools: by contacting the organisation, by reservation only

Credit: Archivio Fotografico Distretto dei Laghi - Lorenzo Pipi

+39 0324 905675
Fair night
Piazza Risorgimento 28
28857 - Santa Maria Maggiore (VB)

46.1346447, 8.4663795

46.1346447, 8.4663795