Museo dell'Antica Grancia e dell'Olio
The Museo dell'Antica Grancia e dell'Olio di Serre di Rapolano documents the history of the ancient fortified farms (the grance), belonging since the 14th century to the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, built to administer the numerous lands that the faithful left bequeathed to the hospital and to preserve the agricultural harvest before transporting it to Siena, where it was then used for charitable purposes.
The need for storage of large quantities of products explains the complexity of the architectural structure of these buildings which had inside granaries, vats, cellars, oil mills and a series of spaces necessary for the pro
cessing and storage of grain, wine and oil.
La Grancia di Serre, dating back to the thirteenth century, was a center of local agricultural production capable of ensuring part of the food goods for the Sienese hospital and this multiplicity of functions is reflected in the articulated path of the museum, where the threads of a long tract of the history not only of the mountain community of Rapolano and Serre, but of the entire province of Siena, exhibited through ancient instruments, photographic images and documents.
Entering the complex it is possible to choose two routes: the first illustrates the history and the overall functions of the grancia, with panels and multimedia stations that allow visitors to learn about the events of this structure and the System of the Grance of Santa Maria della Scala, with the organization of the farms, the road system and the roles of the people who worked there.
The second route, on the other hand, explores a particular sector of the entire agricultural production, namely the cultivation of the olive tree and the production of oil, set up using the spaces and machinery of an ancient oil mill. In these rooms there are panels dedicated to the importance of the olive tree in Mediterranean culture, its production cycle and its processing.
In the museum there is also an oil cellar, where oil from the main Sienese oil mills can be tasted and purchased.