South Tyrol and fruit-growing
Covering a total of 18,500 hectares, South Tyrol forms Europe’s largest contiguous fruit-growing area. Six billion apples are produced here every year. For many centuries apple trees were planted around the farmsteads to provide for farming families. The construction of the railway line over the Brenner Pass and straightening of the river with reclamation of the floodplains boosted apple exports. The first fruit co-operatives appeared at the end of the 19th century and with them began marketing on a commercial scale.
Lana is the largest and at the same time one of South Tyrol’s oldest fruit-growing municipalities and thus the siting of a museum here on the theme of fruit-growing was practically a foregone conclusion.
Opening times from Easter to all Saints Day
Sunday – Friday 10 am – 5 pm
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The South Tyrol Museum of Fruit-Growing
The South Tyrolean Museum of Fruit-Growing offers an introduction to the world of apples in South Tyrol, both then and now. The apple, as a special fruit, forms the “core” of the museum. It grew as a forbidden fruit on the tree of knowledge in Paradise; in Greek mythology it was closely associated with the Goddess of Love; while in the Middle Ages the apple became the symbol of the rulers. In more recent times the apple lost some of its symbolic value, but was nonetheless a central feature in artistic representations of the still life. Last but not least, poets too have made the apple the centre of their literary attention, such as Friedrich Schiller and the famous tale of Wilhelm Tell and the apple. An old English proverb holds “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”: the health value of this fruit from paradise is expertly presented and its age-old tradition as an elixir of beauty is fully documented.
The building consists of a medieval tower, first mentioned in 1301, with a Gothic addition dating from around 1530 which, like the tower, covers three floors. The Museum also possesses the farm building and the farmyard with a small fruit meadow.
Frost and plant protection
Protecting fruit crops before the spring frosts is fundamental for a successful harvest. Massive crop failures may occur if the blossoms and resulting fruits are not protected from temperatures below freezing point. The physical process of protection through the forming of a layer of ice seems astonishing: it produces exceptional images and is a frequently queried phenomenon to which the exhibition provides an answer. Plant protection has played an important role from the very beginnings: developments are shown from simply scraping off the bark to today's modern methods of integrated plant protection and organic farming.