To visit the Mele Paper Museum is to enhance artistic craftsmanship and pass on a wealth of knowledge that would otherwise be doomed to extinction.
Entering the Museum was just like stepping back in time amid the machinery and tools of the time, inside a historic mill.
In fact, the Mele Paper Museum was opened in 1997 inside the old Piccardo paper mill, built in 1756 and in operation until 1985.
The visit is very interesting for both adults and children of all ages; I was afraid that my almost 4-year-old daughter would be bored instead she listened with curiosity to the master papermaker illustrate the various stages of paper production and was super happy to be able to “make” herself a sheet of paper that we took home as a souvenir.
Below is all the information for your visit to the Mele Paper Museum.
Visit to the Paper Museum in Mele: what to see
Starting in the 15th century, papermaking was very important for the entire Leira Valley. There were something like a hundred mills scattered between Mele and Genoa Voltri.
In the 18th century, paper was made by hand sheet by sheet from textile fibers, and Genoese paper mills became world-famous for their very high quality products.
The halls of the museum are the rooms of the old Piccardo paper mill, renovated to perfection.
The educational tour is structured on three floors: the master papermaker illustrates how paper was once produced, following all its processing stages and explaining the use of the various machines of the time.
We find, for example, the vat where cotton pulp was put to macerate, the press for pressing, the paper roller, the granite wheel that operated the large millstone, etc.
Paper was-and still is-produced from cellulose of textile fibers such as cotton and not from wood pulp as it decreases its quality.
Since 2015, the mill has returned to producing sheets of paper entirely by hand. Paper Museum in Mele is the first and only papermaking workshop in Liguria!
In all of Italy there are only 5 artisans who produce paper using this ancient technique.
Each sheet produced is the fruit of the work of master papermakers and the result is a handcrafted, quality product, so much so that many future brides and grooms choose to have their wedding invitations made by them!
Making the paper sheet
Almost at the end of the journey, the time comes to create your own sheet of paper to take home as a keepsake.
In a large vat, water and cotton fibers are mixed, and the mush created is then sifted and pressed between a few sheets to create a primitive sheet.
After this step the sheets are spread one by one on ropes hanging from the ceiling of the top floor of the paper mill. Then left to dry for 48 hours.
Not being able to return to Mele two days later, the master papermaker advised us to keep it pressed between sheets of newsprint overnight and later put it between the pages of a book to spread it out well.
Visit to the Paper Museum in Mele: information
A visit to the Mele Paper Museum takes approximately half an hour. Due to the presence of machinery in the small rooms and steep stairs between floors, entry with a stroller is not recommended. The visit is also highly recommended for children – ages 3 and a half and up – as the master papermaker explains with great passion and manages to really engage and intrigue even the youngest children.
Opening hours of the Mele Paper Museum
Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Guided tours at 11:30 am – 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm.
To visit, reservations are required at 347.1679042 or by email at [email protected]
☛ Guided tour fee: 6 euros, free under 3 years old.
☛ Paper sheet making fee: 2 euros.
The Museum organizes papermaking workshops for both adults and children (ages 4 to 18, at a cost of 8 euros with a 2-hour duration) to perhaps combine with a visit to the Museum. For information and reservations you can check out the website.
How to get there and where to park
The Paper Museum is located in Acquasanta, in the municipality of Mele, near the shrine and the spa (Terme di Genova). Parking is available on the street in free parking lots.
Address – Via Acquasanta 251, 16100 Mele (Ge).
Apple Paper Museum: where to eat
Near the entrance to the Paper Museum, there are several lawns with benches where you can have a picnic; otherwise within walking distance are two renowned trattorias-Restaurant Da Dria and Osteria dell’Acquasanta-where you can enjoy typical Genoese cuisine.
Mele Paper Museum: where to stay
B&b Al Ciliegio Del Turchino – Positioned in the green within walking distance of the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri and about a quarter-hour drive from the nearest beach, offers parking and a great breakfast included. Book here.
The Mele Paper Museum is, at the same time, a museum and a paper mill-in fact, inside, the master papermakers carry on the ancient craft of producing the sheets of paper by hand and, in the small shop at the end of the visit, you will find many of their handmade products that you can buy as souvenirs.
I highly recommend visiting the Mele Paper Museum with your family as it is a Ligurian excellence that is right to know and visit to keep alive a tradition that would otherwise risk being lost.
3. Stone Castle