THE RE’ DUCT SYSTEM NEXT TO THE OLD CAPPELLAZZI-PANTEGHINI-MORANDINI SAWMILL
This sight of the “Vaso Re” (the Rè Duct) allows us to observe the main features of this hydraulic/productive work.
The “Vaso Re” (the Rè Duct) is a masonry duct, made up of natural stone, while for the pipes that pertain to the various factories, to which the water was diverted, their parts were originally made up of chestnut wood that was later replaced by the use of reinforced concrete.
These pipes that connected to the different factories must necessarily have a suspended course even of several metres, and so it was ideal to use the wood that allowed the installation of piles that later held the trusses on which could be mounted the axles that formed the pipe.
Just the chestnut wood was especially waterproof, but its preservation was necessarily linked to it, indeed there was needed a constant humidity for keeping elastic the wood. These wood pipes were characterized by considerable drops and they could reach six or seven metres in height, too, in order to create waterfalls and in this way kinetic energy. The management for the use of the whole duct was given by a series of sluice-gates that consented to close and open the water that was used in the factories. It should be noted that since its implementation between 950 and 1050 AD, the duct was subject to specific “Regulations” for its maintenance, using hours, opening and closing of the different sluice-gates.
The structure was also checked by armed guards just to its source in the territory of Prestine; the preservation of the Grigna Valley was linked just to the good management of the “Vaso Re” (the Rè Duct). From this observation post you can see the deviation from the main duct to the adduction one that conducted the water to different plants, with the sluice-gate formed by a guillotine system and a lever for the opening to be used when water has to enter in the adduction duct or when it’s necessary to stop its flow.
The grids called “rèstèlécc”, placed upright to the duct in order to consent the collection of the material that is dragged from the water and floats on it, are to be observed. There is also a very simple public wash-house, consisting of a concrete sloping slab with a groove for putting the soap.
Examples of this type may be found in other spots of the “Vaso Rè” (the Rè Duct) route, where we find the original stone ones but also others in cement. We remember that in this area besides the sawmill of the Cappellazzi Family, later handed over to the Panteghini Family and after to the Morandini Family, there were also three forges originally belonged to the Company SIMMVA, which had forges also in Malegno, and handed then over to forgemen from Bienno:
The Bellicini Giacomo “Giacom del frà” Forge for the production of spades and shovels was ceased at the end of the sixties and converted into a shed; The Comensoli Brothers Forge produced shovels, spades, mallets, picks and hoes, and it was converted into the shed; The Ercoli “Bogia dè ai” Forge, which is now used as a workshop for carpentry.
The “Vaso Ré” (the Rè Duct) here ends its course in the territory of Bienno; its crossing in the Municipality of Berzo Inferiore was documented up to 1963 by the presence of the Church of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, patron saint of forgemen and gunsmiths, which was demolished for the construction of the large square of a steelworks.