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Regional Museum of Vigezzo Immigration in the World

Chimney Sweep Museum

Vigezzo Valley

In Santa Maria Maggiore, located in the heart of the Vigezzo Valley, There is a small museum that is one-of-a-kind in Italy. It preserves the historical memory of an ancient profession that contributed both tragic and fascinating chapters to the history of this valley.



Visitors will experience all kinds of emotions as they jump right into the dusty pages of an old and “smoky” fairytale.

Located in Santa Maria Maggiore’s old town, the Chimney Sweep Museum is the only museum in Italy dedicated to this profession, hosting more than 10,000 visitors each year.The museum is situated within the lovely Villa Antonia park, in a quaint and beautiful building that used to be the residence of painters and goldsmiths. Thanks to an interesting exhibition itinerary, the museum bears witness to and recounts the difficult experiences of a little-known figure, whose intense historical-social story spanning several centuries is a central theme in the Vigezzo Valley community. The structure, with its exhibition area on the ground floor and an interactive, multisensory itinerary that engages visitors on the first floor, is one of the most interesting museums to visit in the Piedmont Region. Uniforms, old tools, vintage bicycles, prints, paintings and furnishings, along with information panels, sounds, noises and sensations, all await visitors as they travel back in time.

Cenni storici


The chimney sweep profession, a job that is both rough yet essential to preventing fires, dates back to the XIV century. Because it was linked to this profession for centuries, the Vigezzo Valley was often portrayed on maps as the “Chimney Sweep Valley” during the 16th century; it was from these mountains that generations of chimney sweeps emigrated to France, Germany, Austria and Holland, enduring enormous challenges and sacrifices.

The XVI century period witnessed the migration of chimney sweeps to northern European countries, while the period between the XIX and the XX centuries was marked by the social scourge of child exploitation. Two distinct realities, two sides of the same coin that are profoundly different:

  • the phenomenon of migration, that allowed a small minority of men to devote themselves, through perseverance and sacrifice, to more profitable jobs abroad so that they could return to the valley richer, in terms of both money and experience.
  • The scourge of child chimney sweeps - a reality that was especially prominent in the 19th century - was characterized by hundreds of young “RÜSCA” who, due to their families’ extremely poor economic conditions, resigned themselves to being forced to face winters far from home, doing backbreaking work, as they awaited spring and the return home.

Italy’s National Chimney Sweep Association

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Museo dello Spazzacamino

Santa Maria Maggiore VB
Piazza Risorgimento, 28
Piemonte - Italy

Tel/fax 0324 905675




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