14th Panel

THE COMPLEX OF THE “DE LA PARADA” FORGES

It is a complex consisting of two forges: the first one owned by Morandini Giacomo “de la Villa” with two hammers worked until the end of the eighties for the production of agricultural tools; the second one owned by Maffeo Bellicini “Maf Betola”, then handed over to his sons Giacomo, Andrea, Bortolo, Battista, Angelo and Nicola, was characterized by a large room consisting of three hammers, worked until the sixties, producing agricultural tools.
The derivation duct of the Vaso R (the R Duct) becomes one with the forges and for a long stretch it is made up of stones and then in cement, just close to the forges with arches that support it, creating something like a sort of arcade on the bottom of which lean the walls of the forges. The “Betole” Forge for the presence of a large stone architraved portal characterized by monolithic granite plinths, which opens on the bottom of the fourth arch pointing out really the archaeology of what had to be one of the largest structures devoted to this activity, is particularly striking even though it is now fallen into disrepair. It is still recognizable the position of the hammers for the presence of the “hche”. The “trombe”, that came down from the derivation duct of the Vaso R (the R Duct) for making the three hammers work, are also recognizable. The architectural structure shows on the east side openings of a certain size for the aeration and lighting of the room. Despite the precarious state of conservation, you can also understand how the structure could be large, aerated and bright in comparison with other buildings of a similar type. Even watching from above, through the possibility of facing in Via Ripa (Ripa’s Street), shows a certain spatiality of the complex that characterizes this part of the territory of Bienno, as it is the only factory on the edge of the meadows that have occupied the areas carried away by the tragic flood of 1634. The “Parada” is also present on the Napoleonic Map of 1821 with the number 887, as the only factory in that area. As Alessandro Sina mentioned in one of his book written in 1907, where he quoted the testimonies transmitted by some documents of that time: “On 7 July 1634 the whole territory of the Grigna Valley was swept away by a big landslide, which consequently caused a great flooding. In Bienno there were swept away 28 houses and the same numbers of forges, in Prestine was swept away the Parish Church of Saint Apollonio, in Berzo was destroyed half of the inhabited place and 140 persons died and a great deal of livestock, there were also ruined the countrysides as well as in Esine, where 17 persons died and were swept away about thirty houses”. This event occurred in 1634 was certainly the most severe, but we find documents about the whole Grigna Valley that mention floods as from the beginning of the fifteenth century, with a good seven disasters during the seventeenth century, five floods in the eighteenth century, two in the nineteenth century, and finally in 1966 and 1993. After the landslide of 1634, Bienno remained amputated in its southern part, where in addition to Via Glere (Glere’s Street), which means precisely a gravely place typical of flooded areas, rose the gardens and the farmyards below Via Ripa (Ripa’s Street), supported by a high massive wall built after the disaster. It can be assumed that the area “de la Parada” could mean sheltered, maybe protected as a result of being saved from the disaster and therefore the only artefact preserved in that place after the flood.