Brianza museums: Ethnographic Museum of Alta Brianza Di Galbiate

Brianza, home of agricultural activities and traditions

In Galbiate, a mediaeval village of fourteenth-century origin, in the province of Lecco there is a guardian of the history of Brianza. This is the Ethnographic Museum of Alta Brianza (MEAB) which is located within the Monte Barro Park.

It preserves the testimonies of those who lived in these locations in the past and gives us the history of traditions, customs and knowledge with the commitment to pass them down to future generations.

History of Brianza’s agricultural activities

The museum exhibition space, about 600 square metres, was initially created in a rural building purchased by the Park in 1991. Since 2003, the space at Galbiate has been open to the public, following the renovation of a late mediaeval building in the village of Camporese.


The museum hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions and educational activities organised for schools. The collection of objects testifies, with video images and oral stories, sounds and photographs, of Brianza’s agricultural activities and of the daily lives of men and women of the Brianza working class of the 19th and 20th centuries.


Permanent and temporary exhibitions of the Ethnographic Museum of Alta Brianza

The temporary exhibitions focus interest on the differences in cultures of the territory, both of the past and the present, so as to display the variety and transformations of traditions over time.

In the various rooms, the permanent exhibitions are dedicated to documenting practices and tools of silkworm breeding and agriculture, while others display evidence and objects relating to the production and processing of maize, haymaking, fowling and hunting, eating habits and transportation.


Some rooms exhibit the typical arrangement of a stable or a cellar.
The largest room, filled with contents, is that dedicated to Brianza farmers, with testimonies of traditional agriculture which, for centuries, has marked the local economy, dedicated to cultivating mulberry for the silkworm, to the production of hay, corn, wheat and vines.


Visiting this farming museum equates to taking a dip into the past, discovering the gestures and tools existing up until the last century, before industrialisation spread. You can also visit the MAB, Archaeological Museum of Barro.

Pan flute, symbol of local Brianza tradition

In particular, an exhibition is dedicated to the Pan flute, an ancient instrument, whose presence is already documented in Greek mythology and classical literature and which is also found in the musical tradition of Spain, Romania and Russia. This instrument was mistakenly believed to originate from Brianza.

The instrument is profoundly rooted in the Brianza territory and Brianza tradition has made it its own. It is so widespread to the point of becoming an essential folkloric instrument of these lands.


This wind instrument consists of rods of decreasing length, usually closed at the lower end, with a hole in the upper part into which the player blows.


In the museum room, the construction techniques of this particular musical instrument are illustrated by way of testimonies collected from constructors and local players. In-depth sections demonstrate the structure of musical bands and the role of the maestros, the methods of playing and the performance of the pieces.