There’s a strange anomaly in the Italian wine industry. Despite the huge amount of history that lies behind the industry, there aren’t many museums that are dedicated to celebrating it.
That’s not to say that you can’t get your historical kicks from a huge number of exhibitions. Festivals get held every year that features all many of exhibits that detail the histories of various wines and their producers. Moreover, practically every major producer – and most of the smaller ones – offer tours of their grounds that prove especially educational to visitors.
Yet there aren’t many permanent museums that truly celebrate Italian wine in the same way that we have museums celebrating art, natural history and science.
It’s a strange phenomenon. After all, the wine industry has been one of the major drivers behind the Italian economy for centuries now. Italians absolutely adore their wines and take great pride in the rich heritages that lie behind them.
Italy’s wine history is celebrated constantly, even without dedicated museums.
But the good news is that there is at least one amazing museum that brings a lot of the industry’s history all under one roof.
It’s called Muvis and it’s the largest wine museum of its kind in all of Europe.
A Little Bit About the Museum
Muvis is a Wine and Food Science Museum that, as its name suggests, celebrates the science that lies behind some of Italy’s most famous delicacies and wines.
The museum is based in the heart of the gorgeous village of Castiglione in Teverina, which is a part of the National Association’s City of Wine initiative.
The museum itself features an enormous 2,000 sqm of exhibition space, within which you’ll find all manner of interesting installations that celebrate both food and wine. The museum itself is also part of a much larger building belonging to the Vaselli Counts and it’s the descent into this buildings cavernous wine cellar that makes up the bulk of the experience you’ll enjoy should you visit.
This enormous cellar spans five floors, which include the ground floor and four more floors that are located deeper underground. Though the cellar is no longer in use in terms of actively producing wine, the descent down to it will take you on a full tour of the history of the wine production of “yesterday”.
At the conclusion of this 27-metre descent you’ll reach an area that’s affectionately called The Cathedral. Here you’ll see absolutely enormous wine barrels that have a diameter of three metres. You could life next to the barrel and still have space to spare on either side. They’re simply enormous and offer you a good idea of the sheer scale of the country’s wine industry.
Beyond this highlight, the rest of the exhibition aims to create an immersive experience that truly pulls you into the world of Italian wine. During your tour, you’ll have the opportunity to see all manner of photographs and video reels that demonstrate the work that Italy’s dedicated producers put into each bottle of wine that they create.
You’ll also see genuine tools that have been used in the production of wines, alongside large pieces of machinery that help to chart the evolution that the industry has undertaken as production has grown more massive with time.
You’ll see all manner of historical artefacts that focus on the agricultural business as well as providing some more contextual history about the village itself.
There are also several staged exhibitions that give you more insight into the world of wine in action. These focus primarily on the work of wine producers in the Teverina region, with a host of installations allowing the visitor to see the broader scope of the cultural impact that the wine has on such regions. These scenographic installations are yet another highlight among the many that you’ll enjoy during your trip down into the deepest recesses of the Vaselli Cellars.
The museum also hosts a number of educational tours focused on schoolchildren. Who knows? Perhaps some of the great winemakers of tomorrow are currently braving the journey down into the museums cellars or finding themselves in awe of the many exhibits that they’ll see along the way.
The Purpose That Lies Behind the Museum
As we mentioned before, there aren’t many museums in Italy that dig deep into the rich cultural history of the Italian wine industry.
Muvis stands as a more permanent acknowledgement of the huge impact that the industry has on Italian culture. It stands a celebration of the people and processes that have made the industry into what it is today. Plus, it charts the evolution of the industry and lets people get up close and personal with the tools and machines that help producers bring their hard work into the bottle.
But Muvis aims to be so much more than this. It hopes that its focus on the history of the production of wine, coupled with its novel location that allows visitors to really get into the bowels of a major Italian wine cellar, will inspire more people to pursue a career in the industry.
The museum is a celebration of everything that makes the Italian wine industry so inspiring to so many millions of people around the world. It’s also a supporter of the many festivals and wine events that take place in and around its local region.
The Final Word
Muvis is a grand undertaking the likes of which you’re unlikely to find anywhere else.
The closest comparison that we can conjure is the cellar tours that many producers offer. But with these tours, you’re not getting a lot of exhibits along the way.
Muvis is as concerned with preserving and educating people about the science and history that lies behind the industry as it is on offering a cellar tour.
But even if you’re only in it for the cellars, you’re still getting a magical experience. The moment that you reach “The Cathedral” is a breathtaking occasion that few can replicate.
Simply put, Muvis should be at the top of the list of locations that you visit in 2019.