Chestnut farming, chestnuts and roast chestnut sellers

Chestnut groves or selve are part of Italian-speaking Switzerland’s cultural heritage and have a great deal of significance for the local ecology and landscape. This is why a number of projects to restore them have been launched over the past 20 years. The sweet chestnut played a vital role in nutrition across much of the country’s Italian-speaking zone for centuries. Its storage was particularly important, with small buildings erected especially for this purpose. The traditional drying methods are enjoying a resurgence in popularity today, mostly for educational purposes in the form of demonstrations and as a way of reviving local culture and history. Every autumn, various events are held at which chestnuts and products made from them are sold and eaten in many different forms – not least the roasted marroni. Roast chestnut sellers are still a common sight in town squares and at fairs, festivals and markets. The first roasters documented as offering their wares in the towns of Switzerland and other European countries came mainly from the Blenio Valley and the Leventina region. Some of them still pass the trade on down through their family, though others hand their tools over to people outside their circle of relatives and friends.

Detailed description


Social practices
Traditional craftsmanship




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Interviste (a cura di Alessandra Bobbià): Gianpiero Invernizzi (09.11.2010, 09.02.2011), Giuliano Strazzini (09.02.2011), Marzio Strazzini (28.03.2011), Giovanni Scozzari (29.03.2011). Centro di dialettologia e di etnografia. Bellinzona

Hans Käser: Die Kastanienkultur und ihre Terminologie in Oberitalien und in der Südschweiz. Aarau, 1932

Remo Maurizio: Aufbewahrungsmethode der Kastanienfrüchte im Bergell. In: Jahresbericht der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Graubündens 100. 1983, p. 167-170

Laura Sofia: Castagna. Estratto dal Vocabolario dei dialetti della Svizzera italiana (Le voci 5). Bellinzona, 2001

Mengia Spreiter-Gallin: Castasegna. Località di confine. / Castasegna: Ein Grenzdorf. St. Moritz, 2006

Mario Vicari: Documenti orali della Svizzera italiana. Valle di Blenio. Seconda parte. Ed. Ufficio cantonale dei musei - Vocabolario dei dialetti della Svizzera italiana. Bellinzona, 1995

Mario Vicari: Documenti orali della Svizzera italiana. Valle Leventina. Prima parte. Ed. Centro di dialettologia e di etnografia. Bellinzona, 2005





Museo etnografico della Valle di Muggio
Museo etnografico della Valle di Muggio

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