The Gianluigi Secco's Dolomite Masks Museum is located inside the fifteenth-century Palazzo Secco in Borgo Piave, one of the few buildings of the city of Belluno still frescoed externally, which reflects all the characteristics of the Venetian palaces, although smaller due to the Belluno climate.
Inhabited by the Secco family from 1779 to the 1980s, coppersmiths from Sacile, it now belongs to a company from Castelfranco Veneto which has embraced the project of creating a cultural center of reference outside the province for what concerns Gianni Secco's Dolomite carnivals. Thus, by pure chance, his collection found a home in a building with the same surname.
The exhibition spaces of the museum collect specifically mannequins, wooden faces, paintings and tables.
The first and second rooms of the museum host part of the Comelian procession with the Matazin mannequins, a Matazera and two Paiazi. The fourth and fifth spaces, however, bring together the mannequins from the carnival of Rivamonte, Lozzo di Cadore, Val di Zoldo, Sappada, Valle del Biois, Laste di Rocca Pietore and Falcade for a total of 14 mannequins on display out of 30 in total in the collection.
In the second room of the museum, there is also an original wooden staircase that houses about thirty wooden faces created by various sculptors such as Beppino Lorenzet and Pietro De Martin. The exhibition does not follow a precise order because the anthropologist Cesare Poppi has indicated that carnival is confusing and it is therefore appropriate to arrange them in random order; the complete collection includes 56 faces.
In the second, third and fourth rooms, finally, there are carnival described by various painters through art. Specially, you can see 14 paintings by Franco Fiabane which give a complete overview of all the valleys, 8 tables by Claudio Nevyjel, a table by Olga Riva Piller with a focus on the Sappada carnival and 4 paintings by Vico Calabrò.
Carnival is a very popular festival in almost all the Province of Belluno: the presence of allegorical figures often characterized by simple costumes and masks or painted faces, represents in a completely authentic way ancient peasant customs.