Museo della Civiltà Contadina

Museo del Contadino

Useful Information

Location: Via Santa Maria del Pozzo 114, 80049 Somma Vesuviana NA.
(40.882862, 14.434337)
Open: All year daily 9-14.
Classification: SubterraneaCellar
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Museo della civiltà contadina, Piazza Santa Maria del Pozzo 116, Somma Vesuviana, Napoli, Campania 80049, Tel: +39-081-893-5912. E-mail:
Museum Secretariat, Tel: +39-081-531-8496. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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16th century convent of Santa Maria del Pozzo built.
1995 museum opened to the public.
1998 university course about Cultural Heritage.
2003 death of Carlo Russo.
2009 begin of educational programs aimed at students and culturally motivated persons.


The Museo della Civiltà Contadina (Museum of Peasant Culture) or formerly Museo del Contadino (Peasant Museum). It is located in the ancient cellars of the convent of Santa Maria del Pozzo, located in Somma Vesuviana in the northeastern outskirts of Naples. It was founded and operated by Carlo Russo, a retired railway worker, who dedicated his life to the rediscovery of traditions and above all of peasant culture. During 30 years he collected objects and oral testimonies of the rural world traveling the countryside of the Vesuvian hinterland and the province of Naples.

The museum is a local history museum, showing typical objects of the domestic hearth of a peasant house. Typical exhibits are scales, pots, cauldrons, spoons, containers for conservation. There is also an exhibition of musical instruments for the execution of traditional tammurriata and peasant festivals. Tammurriata is a complex family of dances on the drum, which are performed in a vast area ranging from the lower Volturno valley, the Casertano, the circumvesuvian area, up to the Agro Nocerino, the Nolano and the Amalfi coast. This Italian ethnic dance belongs to the family of the southern tarantella. The "tammorra" is a large frame drum with tin rattles, optional decoration with ribbons or polychrome paintings and bells.

Beneath the convent building there is a huge historic cellar. The cellar was abandoned and after it was rediscovered, filled with garbage, Carlo Russo had the idea to use it for his collection. Together with volunteers he cleaned and renovated the cellars and in 1995 the museum was opened to the public. The volunteers also started to organize regular public events at the location which made the museum quite popular among the locals. In 1998 a group of university students joined the volunteers during a course about Cultural Heritage. This boosted the quality and the popularity of the museum and its external activities. After the death of Carlo Russo in 2003 the volunteers including his sons continued the work.