Grotto culture in Italian Switzerland


Category:
Knowledge concerning nature
  • Social practices
  • Traditional craftsmanship
Canton:

Description

Grottos, rustic storehouses that serve basic local food and drink, are an integral part of the identity of the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. They were once a key element in agricultural production and rural life, as places where wine and food was stored and preserved. Originally closely linked to wine production, they were built by skilfully exploiting the morphology of certain Alpine and pre-Alpine regions, creating rooms with climate suitable for food storage. Today, they are a symbol of conviviality and leisure for all sections of society, and are still widely used as cellars for the preservation of food (especially wine and cheese).

Image gallery

  • Lunch with music at the grotto (Tremona, Grotto Grassi, 2017) © Mattia Germano
  • Brunch made from local produce (Tremona, Grotto Grassi, 2017) © Mattia Germano
  • View of the Dongio grotti (Dongio, 2013) © CDE - Gabriella Meyer
  • Row of cellars in Mendrisio (Mendrisio, 1997) © CDE - Ivan Magistrini
  • Cellar under a rock near the Valmaggia Museum, on the ‘Grotto Trail’ (Cevio, 1982) © CDE
  • View of a grotto with two entrances, 2013) © CDE - Franco Lurà
  • Inside the cellar at the Trattoria Menghetti (Bigorio, 2012) © CDE - Gabriella Meyer
  • Interior of a grotto in the Piazzeno area (Mezzovico, Vira 2014) © CDE - Gabriella Meyer
  • Wooden stand for storing wheels of cheese in the Grotto di Americo Romerio Giudici, in the Ródai area (Giornico, 2008) © CDE -Roberto Pellegrini
  • View of a boccia court (Tremona, Grotto Grassi, 2017) © Mattia Germano
  • Grotto built under a large rock (Cama, 2008) © Giovanni Barberis
  • The chestnut tree wood is reinstated as part of the project to restore the Grotti di Cama (Cama, 2005) © Dante Peduzzi
  • Roof of a grotto at Cama restored using the original materials (Cama, 2008) © Dante Peduzzi
  • Simple cellar with double-pitched roof (Cama, 2008) © Fernando Albertini

References and documentation

Publications
  • Andrea a Marca, Ivan Magistrini: Grotti, cantine, canvetti. Estratto dal vocabolario dei dialetti della Svizzera italiana (Le Voci 12). Ed. Centro di dialettologia e di etnografia. Bellinzona, 2014

  • Donati Bruno (Ed.): Vivere tra le pietre: costruzioni sottoroccia: splüi, grondàn, cantìn. Cevio / Locarno, 2004

  • Thomas Burla e Ralph Hut (fotografie), Conradin Wolf (testi): Grotti, splüi, cantine: anonyme Felsarchitektur im Maggiatal. Zürich,1995

  • Ronald Cicurel, Liliane Mancassola: Andar per grotti. Lausanne, 1992

  • Gianluigi Bisagni: Grotti. Lugano, 1984

  • Dossier grotti. In: lanostraStoria.ch, http://www.lanostrastoria.ch/group/5846 (stato 25.01.2018)

  • Yor Milano: Guida-Grotti e osterie del Ticino e Mesolcina. Locarno, 2017

  • Luca Bettosini, Dante Peduzzi: I grotti di Cama. In: «Vivere la montagna», 42/2007, p. 20-27

  • Dante Peduzzi: I grotti, una realtà specifica nel Grigioni italiano e un esempio di interazione uomo-territorio. In: «Quaderni grigionitaliani», 4/2004, p. 414-420

  • Dante Peduzzi: Andiamo ai grotti. Testimonianze di un intervento sul territorio del Comune di Cama Grigioni 2004-2009. Bellinzona, 2010

Documentation