A tribute to scientist Ancel Keys and a life-style that is UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

The Mediterranean Diet for Italians has always been the norm, but the American scientist Ancel Keys was the first one to study it. In southern Italy, there’s a high concentration of centenarians. Thus, Keys hypothesized that a Mediterranean-style diet low in animal fat protected against heart disease. In Cilento, he studied for 60 years and devised the Mediterranean Diet, listed, in 2010, as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Keys worked for over 40 years in Pioppi (Salerno) forming an indissoluble bond with the local community. He was considered by locals as a fellow citizen, maybe just a little bit special. The Museo Vivente della Dieta Mediterranea di Pioppi (MVDM – Living Museum of the Mediterranean Diet) is the main tribute of Pioppi to Keys and his work.

The Museum is hosted in a 17th-century historic residence near the beach, Palazzo Vinciprova. The Ripoli family donated it to the municipality of Pollica in 1986. Here, in 1998, Legambiente opened the ‘Museo Vivo del Mare‘ (Living Museum of the Sea) on the ground floor. Subsequently, the same institution opened MVDM on the second floor of the palace.

In the exhibition, there are descriptive panels, videos, and installations dedicated to the senses.

It is also possible to enter a room dedicated to homemade pasta, with video tutorials by Cilento housewives. Moreover, the Museum house Keys’ personal library, donated by the family to the Municipality of Pollica. The Museum organizes educational workshops, Cilento cooking classes, and guided tours of trails, vegetable gardens, and mills in the area. A concrete way to pass on the legacy left Keys, his wife Margareth and their colleagues. And to promote a lifestyle inspired by healthy eating, respect for the environment and local culture.

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