Barilo is an ethno museum showing everyday objects used for centuries in Blato, Korčula island. We met with Dita and Vesela, two sisters who are maintaining the collection.
In collaboration with Antonia Kunjasic
How did the family start collecting antiques?
Dita always had a passion for searching for antiques. Returning from Zagreb to her native Blato in the 90s, together with her husband, she began collecting antiquities that marked their and their ancestors’ lives. Today, the collection holds 579 items, and since 2005 it has been on the List of Protected Cultural Heritage. More than 60% of the collection are family-owned objects, and the rest were donations.
The name of the ethno museum is a family nickname given according to their job of making barrels. Barilo is a traditional wooden vessel used for salting and storing fish.
Zlinje is the name for the flat area with an alley of linden trees, surrounded by hills in Blato. Zlinje, being a very damp field, got a name by local people calling it evil field (zla njiva) after the government ordered that on flat and damp areas nothing can be built, just cultivated. The road through Zlinje was built in 1911, the same year when linden trees were planted. The width of the road was determined by the width of two donkeys passing next to each other, both carrying two nets full of wheat from both sides.
Squash with which our ancestors learned to swim, was worn around the waist or under the armpits. The production process of this vegetable aid was time-consuming, as squashes needed to be completely healthy and ripe, then left in the breeze for two years in the hope that it will not absorb moisture. From 20 squashes left to dry, only around two would be successful.
“We were going to the sea only with these squashes around our necks, without towels or anything… We were lying on the rocks, what do you need a towel for.”
In 1953, in Blato there were 5787 humans and only one cow. Since there was not enough milk to fill all the needs, only families with newborns could get the milk and just a quarter of liter every day. This calendar comes from one family that was marking all the milk they took so they could count and pay at the end of the month. The calendar also contains a time machine to other memorable moments from the history of Croatia.
Barilo family is nourishing Mediterranean herbs, fruits, and flowers in their garden which later become part of many dishes. Rose, sage, lemon, fig, myrtle, minnow, orange, carob, pear, stitch, oregano, rosemary, anise, orange, and others.