About 10km southeast of Târgu Neamţ, the ramshackle village of TĂRPEŞTI is the location for the delightful Muzeul Neculai Popa (Neculai Popa Museum), the family home of the eponymous folk artist (1919–2010).
Set in Popa’s own yard, the museum’s diverse works (all collected by Popa himself) are displayed with care and wit. The main building is devoted to Popa’s folk art collections, including paintings by Romanian artists – starring some delightful Naïve paintings – an unusually good set of icons and old Moldavian handicrafts such as thick leather belts and painted trousseaux. The colourful masks and folk costumes on display in the second building, made by both Popa and his wife, Elena, are occasionally used in children’s pageants recounting legends such as that of Iancu Jianu, an eighteenth-century forest bandit known as the Robin Hood of Wallachia. Popa’s son, Damian, now runs the museum, and is only too happy to show visitors around (his English is excellent); there is also a gallery where folk art and icons are sold. His life-size wooden sculptures in the garden are of various family members, including a wonderful one of Popa himself, with tools in hand.