An example of industrial archaeology, set is beautiful natural surroundings.
It takes its name from the last family of copper-entrepreneurs which kept them in business until 1970. However its structure is extremely old, as are the implements that are still preserved in the building. It belonged to the Monastery of San Francesco and was located on land belonging to the Prince of Santo Buono, as can be seen on a 1754 map drawn by the surveyor Michele della Croce that also reveals the existence of various enterprises related to the power derived from the Verrino stream. There were mills, fulling mills (used in cloth manufacture), but mainly copper foundries. To obtain enough energy from the water diversionary channels were built leading to large basins (maretti); from here the water was conveyed in a very narrow conduit that generated a high pressure for the water to fall and turn enormous wooden blades, and in turn operate heavy mallets. The copper melting furnaces were almost always kept on to keep the temperature steady, and the flame was kept alive by the air blown through special pipes, always driven by the energy generated by the water. Copper melts at about 1100°. The incandescent liquid was tested with a special “rod”, and once it was perfectly blended, it was collected from the crucible with special ladles (lined with fire-resistant material) for a partial solidification. The still warm portions of copper were worked under the heavy hammers, held with special tongs so that the “maglianti” moved with the precision of a clock mechanism to avoid damaging the laminated layer of the vessels that were being formed. Anyone who has visited the foundry says that you can still detect the acrid smell of burning coal, the intense heat generated by the oven, the noise created by the machinery … noise that could be heard all the way into the countryside! It was one of the first industries that had work shifts well distributed during the course of the day, and one of the first equipped with canteens and sleeping facilities for workers.
Electricity eventually arrived here too, but this was produced on site, with water from the Verrino, with a specially purchased “Pelton turbine”. The ultimate in modernity came when a metalworking lathe was put into action in the factory … the old foundry was “turning the page”. The advent of stainless steel, of aluminum … of plastic, with their competitive prices and their practicality of use, drove the slow agony and finally the closure of the old copper foundries. Industrial archeology, immersed in beautiful natural surroundings, which generates peace!
A guided visit will let you discover a world made up of simple and tenacious people, hardworking and creative. Visit by making a booking. Don’t miss it!
Clothing suitable for the season and walking shoes