Macero di Santa Maria in Duno


Witness of the antique hemp cultivation

Where: Via Calcarata - 40010 Bentivoglio (BO)

Antique hemp cultivation - Museo della civiltà contadina di Bentivoglio
Antique hemp cultivation - Museo della civiltà contadina di Bentivoglio

The farming economy of the Reno plain has prospered for centuries thanks to an industrially important plant, hemp, mainly appreciated for its use in shipping, since it is used to make excellent ropes and strong material for sails.

The introduction of steam ships and the diffusion of cotton over the 19th and 20th centuries led to the unstoppable decline of hemp cultivation. However, the Bolognese countryside still conserves memories of this ancient cultivation in the widespread pulping basins.

Traces of hemp cultivation still remain in the territory in the form of “maceri”. The “maceri” are small artificial basins similar to rectangular pools, about 2 metres deep. Their size depended on the quantity of hemp to be pulped, which in some cases was the produce of a single farm, but was more often produced by several sharecroppers on an estate.

The maceration served to neutralize the action of gluey substances which stopped the textile fibre from detaching itself from the woody stems.
Bunches of hemp tied together formed rafts, the “postoni” (rafts made from several bunches of hemp tied together), which were then sunk in the basin, weighed down with stones for about eight days, after which they were pulled out and washed.


Midway through last century, over two thirds of the hemp produced was sent to other parts of Italy and abroad, while the rest was used in Bologna or other smaller centres of the area in further stages of elaboration, thus providing work for thousands of artisans, cottage and factory workers.

Recently hemp has become the subject of renewed interest and is being reintroduced, even though in a limited way so far.

How to get there
Info on the tourist location

URP (Public Relations Office)
Address: Piazza della Pace, 1 – 40010 Bentivoglio (BO)

Ph. 0039 051 6643511  Fax 0039 051 6640908

Opening times:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 8.30am – 12.30pm

Tuesday 8.30am – 12.30pm / 2:45pm – 6.00pm

Thursday 2.45pm - 6.00pm

Closed on Tuesday afternoon, on July, August, Christmas and Easter time.

Closed on: Sundays 



The text is taken from

Last update: 09-07-2019