Podere Fontanella is a complex made of an old mill and other buildings dating back to the 17th century.

The site faces South East onto lush meadows embracing a curve in the waters of the Segone. This mountain torrent rages dramatically in winter, while by contrast is an entrancing and refreshing stream in the heat of the summer.

The buildings would have housed not only the milling machinery and equipment, but the miller’s extended family and very likely, two families, forming a small nucleus or borghetto (little hamlet), possibly consisting of over a dozen people.

We know that the chestnut mill-stones, still intact, were driven by a wooden water wheel of horizontal type, typical to this and other appenine areas in central Italy. This was replaced by a hand fabricated iron wheel, installed in 1883, as recalled by a date inscribed on the wall. Unfortunately no traced remain of the olive press following the first stage of renovation works carried out in the late 1970s.

The land beloning to the this complex is 10 hectares, but only 4000 square meters are useful.

An interesting reminder of times long-past is the stone head walled into the end of the East building: a genuine testimony to the ancient superstitions of the area. Legend would have it that the surrounding woods and hills abound with spirits and ghosts, notably, the infamous linchetto or goblin. Such monstrous faces carved into stone were fashioned to ward off evil, and are known as scacciaguai

Following the renovation works started in the ’70s, the upper trout tank has now become a swimming pool 11,5×5,5, and the bowls pitch is no longer, but the little paradise of Villa Fontanella remains something to be experienced.

 

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