The Ecomuseum of the Resistance "Il Codirosso" has its roots in the desire to keep alive and shared the memory of the facts that characterized the Partisan Liberation Struggle that took place in the Alpine territories of Rossana and the Varaita Valley.
A reality, as its founder Riccardo Assom said,
" to be a lesson to the new generations and ensure that our young people grow up respecting the ideas of each one, cultivating the spirit of brotherhood that exists among peoples, as a guarantee of the highest values of democracy regained in the twenty months of hard struggle that involved, in addition to volunteers, the civilian population ".
In the image one of the frescoes made by Riccardo Assom on the facade of the hut in the hamlet. It depicts the killing of the partisan "Cusin", who died while trying to recover a piece of bread.
The first nucleus of the Ecomuseum was born in 2002, with the opening of the Museum in Borgata Grossa di Lemma, a hamlet of Rossana.
Riccardo's passion and enthusiasm had pushed him to give life, precisely in one of the territories where the activities of the Piedmontese rebels were most concentrated, to a space capable of hosting and enhancing the material and intangible heritage linked to the fight against Nazi-fascism and to the Italian Resistance.
A heritage made up of objects, artifacts and historical relics but also of stories, lived experiences, traditions and ancient knowledge.
In the same year, the non-profit association "Ecomuseo della Resistenza e della Civiltà Montana" was founded under the management of the Museum.
From 2003 to 2019 the museum maintained a seasonal opening, from 25 April until the end of September.
A place, therefore, of sharing and Memory born from the will of Riccardo but grown and enriched thanks to the commitment of many who over the years have made it experience countless moments of great cultural and symbolic value.
The context of the mountain village in which the original museum was located, the richness of the heritage kept in it, the active collaboration of the members and the narrative voice of Riccardo who accompanied visitors, generating emotion and suggestion in them, are the elements that favored the development and dissemination of the museum project and which has made the village a destination for hundreds of users, organized groups, school groups, university researchers and authoritative figures of the Italian cultural and political panorama.
How to find suitable words, to present such an eclectic and irrepressible personality, to tell the variety of the works he created in life and thus make the legacy of so much admiration and benevolence understood in those who knew him, observed him, listened to him.
Riccardo Assom was an artist, art history teacher, sculptor, painter with an unmistakable style. He was a politician engaged for many years in public administration, a fervent anti-fascist. Writer, researcher and historian. Creator of museum collections, historical heritage of the area. Animated by the interest to know and to tell, he dedicated his life to study and research, managing over time to collect countless finds, documents and transcribed oral testimonies. Being an advocate of an authentic historical memory is the great value that is recognized.
Born in Villastellone in 1944, at the turn of the seventies he settled in Turin where he finished his high school studies. An early heart disease forced him to stay in hospital for a long time, waiting for the first operation to which he will undergo in 1971; during those months he will have the opportunity to attend numerous cardiac surgery and, remaining at the side of the operating doctors, he will create anatomical drawings dedicated to portraying the phases of the first heart transplants. His tables accompanied the scientific manuals published by Minerva Medica. In the following years, a participant in the Turin artistic circles, together with a group of painter friends, he founded the Nuova Sintesi movement, inspired by a modern concept of pictorial semiotics (the essential means the whole, the detail implies and reveals the global object ): it is the time in which the ellipse begins to take shape, and his personal pictorial style is configured, polychromatic, geometric, rigorous in the lines and in the drafting of the color.
Married to the nurse he fell in love with, became a father, he began his teaching activity in numerous schools in the Turin area, until he moved with his family to live and teach in his native town. These are the years of political fervor, an era in which participation in the name of a strong ideology is concretized in the commitment in favor of the community: Assom will become Municipal Councilor and will cover the position of Councilor for LLPP with self-denial for more than a decade . In the meantime, in addition to teaching, the artistic production will continue with the succession of personal and group exhibitions in regional and national territory. Meanwhile, with the help of his willing students, involved in the enterprise with enthusiasm and skill, he will inaugurate the Museum of Popular and Farming Culture based in Villastellone, still open to the public today and home to exhibitions and cultural meetings. The design and construction of the War Memorial in Bosia, a locality in the Alta Langa, and in 1982 the mural painting with scenes dedicated to work in the vineyard and wine, kept on the walls of the ancient portico of the market in piazza Martiri in La Morra, now the seat of the municipal tourist office. Between 1986 and 1988, at the request of a renowned Lamorrese winery, the painter created a series of 11 exclusive labels, “synesthesia between visual and graphic signs and the most sensual components of wine tasting”.
In the following years, more and more often the acrylic of the brush alternates with the ink. Assom, who has always been interested in the study of contemporary history, attending the protagonists of the Liberation Struggle in friendship, records and transcribes their direct testimonies. From this meticulous transcription and analysis of the events that occurred in the recent war, the first three books of a purely historiographic nature "Young among the mountains" (L'Arciere, 1999), "Women in the storm" (L'Arciere, 2001) will be born. ) and the treaty “Civil War? An unshared definition ”(L'Arciere, 2005). After these, the novel "The time of wheat" (Primalpe, 2015), "My heart is with them" (Primalpe, 2017) will be written and published, a book dedicated to partisan friends where scrupulous historiography gives space to sentiment, and a collection of short stories entitled "White of fresh snow" (Primalpe, 2019). Unfortunately, the last writing he had begun to write will remain unfinished, unexpectedly interrupted on page 45.
Writing is easier in a context of silence. In the mountain village where for many years he had retired seasonally, while he was making frescoes and high-reliefs on the external walls of the renovated huts, Assom was able to complete his study and writing works, as well as to give life to a project that had been cultivated for some time. Twenty years ago the doors of the Ecomuseum of the Resistance "Il Codirosso" opened, a precious museum collection of relics, weapons and original documents of the partisan struggle and the Second War. Keeper of the museum and of the memories it contains, he enthusiastically welcomed visitors and accompanied them, enchanted by suggestive tales to knowledge and reflection. “Acting together, sharing, explaining. For a personal act of courage to become effective, let us know the reason that led to action, let our conscience be refreshed. Finally, to go beyond the limit imposed by time, hand over memory to new hands. Disclose ". The museum collection now finds a different location and gives in to the need for new management: we will continue according to his example, his words will be the guide.
Current affairs and widespread project
The Ecomuseum of the Resistance "Il Codirosso" changes its appearance starting from September 2019, when at the end of the season it is decided to transfer all the finds to the new location: the historic Palazzo Garro located in Rossana.
While changing location and management, the museum exhibition retains its original name and pursues the same purposes conceived and implemented by Riccardo Assom.
The Museum becomes a permanent exhibition with an exhibition that unfolds over three rooms located on the ground floor of Palazzo Garro.
The management of the museum is guaranteed by the voluntary activity of the Members enrolled in the newly formed ONLUS Association "Ecomuseo della Resistenza Il Codirosso" , which operates in the sector of protection, promotion and enhancement of artistic and historical assets.
From 12 October 2021 the Association is registered in the Single Piedmontese Registry.
Identity, purpose, content
The mission of the Museum is above all to manifest a still living and shared memory of the Resistance in our mountains (testified by monuments, anniversaries and commemorations).
The aim is therefore to promote knowledge of "places of memory", to deepen and disseminate local history as regards the opposition to fascism and the struggle for liberation. Inside the Museum, great importance is given to the 181st Garibaldi Brigade "Mario Morbiducci" and the XVth Garibaldi "Saluzzo" Brigade as sister formations, operating in the twenty months of the struggle in Val Varaita and Val Po.
However, the Museum is only part of the ambitious project the Association is working on. It is the " primordial cell " of the largest and most consolidated organism that we intend to continue to develop: the ECOMUSEUM.
What is an ecomuseum?
" The ecomuseum (or community museum) is originally an idea, a desire, an intention that must be transformed into a project, then into an invention and, finally, into a living organism, which changes with circumstances and generations.
The ecomuseum is, as Maurizio Maggi said, the product of a pact between the community, the territory and the heritage : its form, its content, activities and expressive methods are the result of a slow gestation that associates individuals and groups born in the community " .