On one of our first trips in 2022, Isabelle and I visited the newly reopened birth house of Maria Montessori, one of the key player feminists of the 20th century.
We previously spoke about Maria Montessori and her incredible life, in one of our post on International Women Right’s Day in 2018. On that occasion we mentioned the free museum, that has now been renovated and reopened.
This house was assigned to her family once her father arrived to Chiaravalle to work as an inspector for the local tobacco factory. Her family didn’t own any of the furniture, and that’s why the actual house doesn’t display any of the antiques.
The tight connection she has always had with her hometown made the municipality open this house again with videos showing about her story and memory, objects and principles that are at the core of her worldwide renowned Method and even a map showing her trips and Montessori schools all around the world.
The first room is called Map Room. The map here is very special as it is a Dymaxion planisphere by the American Architect Richard Buckminster Fuller showing a globe with no given hierarchy in it. The pins show either her voyages or the countless Montessori schools around the world. In the same room seven videos are dedicated to 7 different themes: private life, public life, the 20th century, Chiaravalle, the Case dei Bambini, the internationality of thought and action. There are also a few private items and a manifesto from 1950. Even if she moved out very early from the house, she was welcomed by the Mayor of Chiaravalle Molinelli showing her the greatest honour after her trip to India.
The next room is the 3.0 room with technological devices at children’s disposal (iPads, video walls and a digital catalog for the parents and teachers).
However, the most interesting room for me was the Method Room. The long wall has plenty of objects and materials that are at the base of the Montessori method and environment. The objects here are not catching the children attention for their bright colours or their shapes, rather for the easily recognizable function.
I must say that without the guide, that was also a Montessori teacher, I wouldn’t understand the functions of many of the objects. Even some of the easiest ones (on the left side) for the pre-school children! Surprisingly enough for me, following the Montessori Methos children can easily remember the Italian regions’ names and capitals from a very small age!
The house is open almost daily in March 2022 (check the following website for updated timetables) and one Sunday a month for the next months. I hope that they will open it more days because it is a really interesting visit!
You can book in advance on www.casamontessorichiaravalle.it