The TePoTraTos Museum (Scenes from Traditional Popular Tuscan Theatre) of Monticchiello springs from more than forty years of experience in Teatro Povero (Poor Theatre) created by the community of inhabitants in 1967, using the contadina farming culture as the central theme of its theatrical output.
Rich in the background of traditional popular theatre (handed on from generation to generation, and closely tied to the yearly cycle of seasons), the entire structure sets itself apart from more usual museum layouts. Indeed, the TePoTraTos is suspended halfway between a museum and a theatrical performance. In true theatre style, visits there are open to spontaneous microvariations, making each visitor’s experience a little different, just as no two theatre shows are ever exactly the same.
The exhibition, housed within an ancient 18th-century granary inside the village, lets visitor-spectators perceive various emotions while immersed in a universe of communication made up of sounds, voices, fragments of dialogue, objects, and images that recall the contandino world.
Symbolically, the choice of the exhibition space, too, is the reappropriation of a legacy tied to the community: the granary, a place where once the landowners stored the fruits of collective labour, returns to the collectivity and today stores the legacy of memory.
It is a museum not about the Teatro Povero, but a museum belonging to the Teatro Povero. Through scenes and images of traditional Tuscan theatre, if pays homage to the culture of the contadini and the sharecroppers, to their entertainment, to the world of popular poetry, pure and simple.
La camera oscura (the Dark Room): activating sensors in a space wrapped in shadows, the spectator is invited to follow sounds, noises, and voices.
La quercia (the Oak): dominating the space is a great upside-down tree, its roots facing the sky. It is the metaphor for an upside-down world, of ties to the earth, of hope for the future toward which the roots are reaching.
The TePoTraTos Museum (Scenes from Traditional Popular Tuscan Theatre)
Piazza Nuova, 1
53026 Monticchiello (Pienza)
from Tuesday to Sunday , 10am to 1pm, afternoon by reservation
closed on Mondays
free admission; you can leave an offer!
A short distance from the Renaissance town of Pienza, Monticchiello, once a fortress in the defensive system of the Republic of Siena, conserves its character as a Medieval fortezza, complete with its town walls and its cassero, or stronghold keep. The church, dedicated to Sts. Leonard and Christopher, dates back to the 13th century, and its interior contains fragments of frescoes from the Sienese School from the 14th-15th century.
Monticchiello may be reached by car or even on foot from Pienza, with a beautiful walk among the hills, clay ravines, farmhouses and dirt roads. Travellers need only take the downhill road to the left of the Cathedral in Pienza, and then follow signs along the hiking trail toward the southeast. The delightful and characterful village is famous for its “Teatro Povero”, which holds its shows every summer, performed by townspeople right in the main square.