Itinerary of the Museums of little things

Don’t look for a meaning in everything, because everything has meaning,

even in a grain of wheat the universe is hidden

because nature is a book of mysterious words

where nothing is bigger than little things.

(Simone Cristicchi - Abbi cura di me)

This itinerary, within the Riviera di Rimini, is a journey into the little things, which perhaps are not so little when they are able to reveal their magic.

We start from Santarcangelo, an ancient medieval village on the Via Emilia, a short distance from Rimini and the beach. It is the city of the master Tonino Guerra, of tuff caves, of slow holidays, of handcrafted prints, of culture and museums.

Today we’d like to take you to discover an unusual and extraordinary museum located in Santarcangelo, and which presents itself almost like a workshop of memories developed through a small object, one of everyday use, often taken for granted in our lives: the button.

Yet, the Museo del Bottone (Museum of the Button) collects four centuries of history, be it social, economic, political, of customs and fashion.

We are in the historical centre, close to the artisan shops and the houses of the village. Once inside, the exhibition is striking for its variety, with over 14,000 artefacts, coming from Italy and 58 foreign countries, including all continents.

This memorable work is the result of the historical memory and the great archiving work of Giorgio Gavallotti, who has brought down to our day some buttons from the 1600s with the figures of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Marie Antoinette and Maria Luisa of Habsburg, Napoleon’s second wife.

The button is an object that has accompanied us throughout history, and a perfect demonstration of this are the buttons of the Popes and the ecclesiastical hierarchy, those designed by Pablo Picasso for Coco Chanel in the 1920s and finally, those donated by Cristoforetti and Parmitano, the two Italian astronauts who donated to the museum, with the related documents, the buttons of the polo shirt they wore aboard the spaceship on a mission in outer space.

From Santarcangelo, we move towards Verucchio, another pearl of the Rimini Riviera surrounded by the greenery of the Marecchia Valley and already known for its Malatesta Fortress, for the Villanovan Museum, and for its typical products.

Today Verucchio is also worth a visit for the brand-new Museum located inside the Tower of the Walls of San Giorgio, which can be visited by appointment during the second or third Sunday of the month: The Micro, Museum of the Found Object.

The Museum is the result of Gabriele Geminiani’s archival work, and of years dedicated to the collection and conservation of objects and fragments found on the bed of the Conca river, wrecks thrown back by winter storms, up to the finds in the so-called “non-places” such as urban peripheries, railway stations, squares and the edges of the roads.

We are talking about a collection of objects such as small toys, where toy soldiers stand out, lighters, beach slippers, detergent containers, etc.

Finds that now have their place and that have been transformed into small works of art of the memory where this time it is the object that carries out a salvific action on humanity.

Our journey continues towards the upper Valmarecchia and ends in Pennabilli, a true naturalistic oasis since much of its territory is located within the Sasso Simone and Simoncello Natural Park.

And it is in Pennabilli - celebrated by Tonino Guerra through “The Places of the Soul”, its cultural and natural paths - that in the small church of the Fallen, you will find the smallest museum in the world where there is only one painting, made by Luigi Poiaghi inspired by the verses of a poem by Tonino Guerra, “The Angel with a moustache”.

The work represents the Angel ‘‘who was not able to do anything’’, and it is a metaphor for how, what is considered by everyone to be impossible, can instead become reality. 

It is therefore an invitation to all human beings to pursue their desires, even those that we believe are unattainable.