The bicycle in the past had such an important role, difficult to imagine today, which goes beyond the simple transport of things and people, a role both social and professional.
The collection that Mr. Aldo tells us about with such passion and love recounts an Italy that, through simple trades, including those performed on two wheels, has grown and risen after the most difficult periods of our history. There are 23 working bicycles that Mr. Aldo has managed to collect over the years, which became the centre point of a unique exhibition held in Bassano del Grappa in 2019. These bicycles are the result of patient and painstaking research work throughout Italy and Europe. "My story as a collector started many years ago. First, I was actually collecting hot bulb engine tractors. Then I fell in love with bikes and street trades. The first was this parish priest's with all the necessary things for his profession: objects to say mass, to administer the sacrament, to bless. There is also a canopy to give solemnity to the things he was doing on the street".
The stories told by these unique pieces are truly many, but they are only part of the working bicycle story reconstructed by historians throughout Italy. 160 professions, from the fishmonger to the doctor, from the newsagent to the midwife, who in the pre-war years and up to the whole Italian post-war period have traveled the roads of our regions, to meet the villagers in a social and urban context much different from the one we are used to.
"I am fascinated by everything that shows the Italy that arose after the Second World War", affirms Mr. Aldo with emotion and pride. "We went around with trousers patched by necessity not for fashion. And with the bike everyone could work. It was today's gym, no matter how much effort was made. In this way we created Italy".
All the bikes in the collection are completely original and are often rare pieces. The passion for the working bicycle is also reflected in the attention to detail and re-enactment items that in many cases have been added to the bicycle to provide a more complete and realistic image of the profession. Thus we find the "tools of the trade" of the chicken and egg salesman, of the fishmonger, but also of the doctor and the midwife, as well as magazines and publications.
Particularly curious and fascinating is the fireman's bicycle which comes from England, the newsagent’s bike with its vintage newspapers that literally takes you right back in time, and the butcher's bike; he arrived in the farm worker's houses with all his slaughtering tools, including the pedal driven meat mincer for making sausages.
"The bicycle is available to everyone and is easy to understand and appreciate" this is the key to the charm of this curious and precious collection. The simplicity of a still everyday object that fascinates children and adults, manages to communicate the history of a nation, telling so many short stories. Tales of trades and crafts that were perhaps a little improvised, poised on two wheels, and the passing of time, which meant they disappeared as society transformed.
24-27 January 2019
A one-of-a-kind event that leaves breathleass, not only car or mountain lovers, but all those who cannot say that they are immune to beauty.
A trade that tells of past times, of ways of life that are sadly no longer. The craft of clog making is one which today finds its place in markets, craft fairs and historical and cultural reenactments of the Venetian country tradition.Salice Salentino
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