When pronouncing the name of Avola, a city in the province of Syracuse, it is more than natural to add “the city of Almond”. Since always, Avola is recognized as a place dedicated to agricultural production, as shown by the city’s coat, where fruits and citrus fruits are contained in the cornucopias, a symbol of the wealth of the Avolese community. Thus, to keep the historical memory alive and to offer to ever more tourists and travellers an in-depth knowledge of a unique product in the world – which is the Avola Almond – just over a year ago, was established the Almond of Avola and agricultural Avolese traditions Museum. Hosted by an ancient farm of the late 1800s and established thanks to the inventiveness of the director of the Consortium for the Protection of the Almond of Avola, Corrado Bellia, the Museum is the guardian of ancient knowledge, a place where all the senses are involved in a journey into time that leads to discover a real Treasure of Italy, a fruit that only in this area of the island assumes properties unique in the world: the Almond.
A great welcome as Tesori d’Italia 2019 to the Almond of Avola Museum.
by Carmen Attardi
The Almond of Avola and agricultural Avolese traditions Museum been inaugurated in May 2018 on the initiative of the Municipality of Avola, on the proposal of the Consortium for the Protection of the Almond of Avola, which designed and carried out a complete re-evaluation of the premises of an ancient farm of late 1800s.
The Museum was born with the intention of being an institution of the city, for the city; with a strong projection towards the territory of which becomes expression, testimony and memory.
The goal is to create a cultural path that lead to the discovery of the agricultural and gastronomic roots of the Sicilian territory.
The first stop on this tour is the exhibition field, which presents the typical fruit plants of this part of Sicily. Lemons, rows of Nero d’Avola, sugar cane and the trees of Pizzuta, Fascionello and Romana show concretely thanks to which productions the city of Avola is at the forefront of agricultural cultivation and transformation.
Then continue inside the halls of the millstone and the olive-press, which allows the visitor to observe areas of wine and oil production.
Inside is the permanent collection, made up of objects belonging to agricultural work and of various utility. As a whole, the collection includes over 260 historical pieces, to which add the photographic material that was provided by the Pro Loco and was carefully arranged to decorate the walls.
The collection includes tools and machinery used for the processing of typical Avolese products, with particular reference to the almond, able to attract the curiosity and the desire for knowledge of adults and children visitors.
The acquisitions of the Museum are the result of donations from twenty Avolese families, whose generosity has made a significant contribution to the museum institution, at the entrance of which, as a form of recognition, is placed a plaque with all the names of the donors.
A part of the room is use as a cooking demo, which allows, on request, a tasting to let visitors of all ages know the characteristics of almond production, such as almond milk, biscuits, candies, and of course the Avola almond.
The Museum was born with a dual purpose. The first one is certainly to represent a unmissable stop in the local tourist offer, allowing Italian and foreign visitors to discover the historical and cultural roots of the crops linked to the name of the city of Avola. The other one is the didactic activity, to try to transmit the knowledge related to a qualitatively excellent product, such as the Avola almond.
The course, rich in history and local traditions, allows schools children of all ages to learn more about the economic and social roots of each planting present in the exhibition field, so to be able to appreciate the production processes, whose old phases are compared with new agricultural techniques.
Particularly important, at the end, the illustration of the organoleptic and sensorial differences that make us understand the reasons of the superior quality of Sicilian almond productions compared to foreign ones.
Despite its “tender age”, in a short time, this museum has succeeded in acquiring, collecting and exhibiting to the public the best expressions of the territorial and cultural tradition of the city, gaining immediate support. From the very beginning, it has hosted several thousand visitors from all continents, who were able to discover the priceless Sicilian treasure that is the Almond of Avola.
Translated by Céline Alcala