The complex of the Antica Corte Pallavicina in Polesine stands out in a glimpse of Parma Lowlands dominated by the sound of the Great River, where the fog is an essential ingredient of taste. And it is here that the Museo del Culatello and the Masalén has recently been inaugurated.
The museum itinerary presents, one after the other, the protagonists of the Culatello story. The first is the territory: the environment, the poplars, the Po are the protagonists of a narration that leads to the hall focused on the figure of the pig, tamed by man in ancient times, with insights on the typical black pig of Parma and its recovery, on the symbolism and image of a creature so linked to man to be chosen to evoke its vices and virtues, in the rich collection of postcards illustrated but also in books and satire, in advertising and stamps.
A space in the museum also offers an in-depth analysis of the figure of Sant’Antonio Abate, a desert hermit, always represented in the company of a piglet.
The next room is dedicated to the story of the Spigaroli family, in principle sharecroppers of Giuseppe Verdi, able to move on the banks of the Po and then reinvent themselves restaurateurs: it is in this section that we begin to talk about the Masalen, the butchers who handed down the art of correct slaughter of the pig. There are historical artistic references, bas-reliefs that show that the murder was a bloody party but also a festive and grateful ritual that was renewed year after year.
A collection of objects related to the activity accompanies the return to the outside, for an ideal breath of air before immersion in a large underground space that will introduce us to the secret world of Culatello.
In the room there are themes such as the characteristics of pork, salt (with references necessary to the precious one of Salsomaggiore) pepper (from its oriental origins to economic implications) and the main cold cuts of the Bassa Parmense.
We then move on to the history of Culatello, to the iconography and quotations of famous people, from Giuseppe Verdi to Gabriele D’Annunzio to Giovannino Guareschi and many others, with a precise account of the phases that lead the pig’s thigh to a product also characterized from a precise tasting ritual.
The route also allows you to observe the fascinating culatello gallery, which age in the humidity and in the penumbra, museum of itself, before going up to the Hosteria del Maiale and Culatello hall, where the tasting closes the path dedicated to the King of Salumi.
From 1st June to 30th December the Museum is open, without the need for reservations, with the usual opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm (last entrance at 5.30pm).
Closed on Monday. Closed on January.
fulL price euros 7,00 including an audioguide in Italian and English
concessions euros 5,00 for groups (minimum 10 people), over 65
schools euros 3,00 students between 6 and 18 years old
free for disabled and their helpers, tour and schools leaders, press, under 6.
Castle entrance: euros 3,00 plus the museum ticket.
Culatello and other cold cuts tasting: per person euros 5,00