Museo della Focarazza di Santa Caterina

This museum sits in an old blacksmith’s forgery and documents the centuries’ old Focarazza di Santa Caterina, an annual religious ceremony held in Roccalbegna.

The intensely traditional and local exhibition is divided into two sections. The first displays a collection of ancient and contemporary tools that have been used over the years to prepare the wood and other objects, which are then burnt in the giant bonfire on the night of November 24.

The second part of the exhibition focuses on the “stollo”, the wooden pole that sits at the heart of the palio race held after the Focarazza ceremony. The stollo is the wooden pole that represents St Caterina’s horrific burnt-at-the-stake death.

On the night of the festival, wood is placed around the pole and burnt. The men of the town then pull it out of the still smoldering fire and race to return it to their district of the city. The first person to arrive home with the stollo wins.

Admittedly it’s a strange tradition, but it’s unique to Roccalbegna and it’s a festival you won’t easily forget!

The museum also has a small exhibition on traditional children’s games played in the territory.