• Buonconvento

    Museo della Mezzadria Senese (Sharecropping Museum)

The Museo della Mezzadria Senese (Sharecropping Museum) of Buonconvento is located in the evocative setting of a 17th-century granary.  Its authentic exhibits do more than simply document the past; they pull visitors inside the rural world of agriculture that characterized the society and countryside of Tuscan until as recently as the 1970s.

The museum recreates slices of the life and work of the contadini, the peasant farmers, and it illustrates the working mechanisms of the mezzadria (sharecropping) system: landowners laid out capital and use of the property, and farmworkers in return gave their own labour and that of their families—along with half of the crops and produce.

The museum—displaying period photographs, original objects, literary quotations, music, films, and archival documents—leads visitors through a series of multimedia stations where numerous speaking figures introduce themselves and describe their roles in farm life: the proprietario (landowner), the fattore(foreman), the capoccia (head of the household), the massaia (farm wife).

Exhibits cover the building’s two storeys.  The first floor is dedicated to the agrarian countryside, to the farmland and to threshing, which marked the end of the yearly agricultural cycle.  It goes on to show the grain mill and the various activities of the country village.  The second floor explores aspects of work in the field and the farm buildings, and focuses especially on the life of sharecropping families, recreating the interior of a farmhouse along with the furnishings and utensils that were typical of the contadina tradition.

Rather than present information through lengthy written panels, the displays provide visitors with an immediate experience of various environments thanks to the presence of narrating voices that explain the contents of each room.

Beyond exhibition areas, the museum also includes spaces for different activities.  There are teaching laboratories, for example, to help children sample a lifestyle that for many years was part of local and national culture.  The museum thus serves as a “translator” and intermediary to hand on memories from past generations.

Old farm shoes: In farming society, shoes counted as a luxury and were used only for special occasions.  Visitors need only look at photos on display throughout the museum to notice that children almost always went barefoot…

Reconstruction of a farmhouse: in an atmosphere that evokes authentic country living, visitors are led through various rooms in a contadina farmhouse to better understand what life was really like in sharecropper families.

Museo della Mezzadria senese (Sharecropping Museum)
Tinaia del Taja (Piazzale Garibaldi)
53022 – Buonconvento
Tel. 0577 809744 – 338 4233977
email: museibuonconvento@gmail.com


Monday and Tuesday: CLOSED

Wednesday – Friday, 09 AM – 1 AM
Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM – 1 AM/ 4 PM – 7 PM

Info: museibuonconvento@gmail.com


Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday– Friday, 09 AM – 1 AM
Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM – 1 AM/ 4 PM – 7 PM

The ticket office closes 30 minutes before the closing time of the museum



regular: € 3,00

reduced: € 2,00

children under 6 years 

combined ticket: € 5,00 / € 3,00
includes also Museum of Sacred Art of the Val d’Arbia (Buonconvento)

For further information on fares, reduced prices and booking, please contact the museum

Like many places in the Val d’Arbia, Buonconvento owes its fortune to the Via Francigena, along which it has always been an important town for commerce, travel, and hospitality. The small fortified village, situated where the River Arbia flows into the Ombrone, grew up along this historic route. Right on the main road is the Chiesa parrocchiale dei santi Pietro e Paolo (Parish Church of Saints Peter and Paul). Built in the 1300s and then refurbished in the 1700s, this church is home to works of art by Matteo di Giovanni and Pietro di Francesco Orioli.  Also along the main road are the Oratorio di San Sebastiano (Oratory of St. Sebastian) and the Palazzo Pretorio (Town Hall), with its façade covered in the coats of arms of leading Sienese families and its tower remarkably similar to the Torre del Mangia in Siena. Several more recent buildings showing delightful Art Nouveau architecture also stand along the town’s main road.

Buonconvento is still girded by the town walls built in the late Middle Ages.  To protect against frequent attacks and destruction between the 13th and 14th centuries, Siena decided to fortify the village and also erected a rocca (stronghold).  The one extant town gate faces Siena and stands next to the cassero (keep).  It is modelled after the city gates of Siena.