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Museo dei Cuchi (Whistles Museum)

The Whistle Museum at Tresché Cesuna.

The Whistle Museum at Tresché Cesuna.

The whistles were standing in rows on boards laid on trestles: in front, the little ones that cost ten cents were the simplest: a five centimetres high Gallinetta with no colours except that of the natural earth; but its sound, blowing in the tail, was usually the most acute and clear.” Mario Rigoni Stern left a very vivid description of the traditional “cuchi,” clay whistles – or rather, globular flutes – which still today engladden the San Marco’s Festival in Canove, where they are purchased by boys to be donated to the girls, who would have, hopefully, reciprocated on the Rogation or Ascension days with a coloured egg. In this particular museum located on the road that from Treschè Conca leads to Canove, Gianfranco and Vania Valente have collected over 12,000 whistles from all over the world.

Then the cockerels came,” the story of Rigoni Stern continues, “with a bit of colour on the head and on the wings. Covering or opening the hole in the chest a more modulated sound was obtained; they cost twenty cents. Then the row of hens and roosters followed, completely painted, at times with a full and mellow sound, sometimes even fluty. Behind them there were the most expensive ones, brightly coloured and with many different shapes: riding a rooster, carabinieri in full uniform, hussars, cuirassiers, zouaves, cavalrymen. Eighteenth or Nineteenth centuries’ figures of the European armies, especially Napoleonic. While playing, it seems they emit martial sounds!”

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