23th Panel

THE BALLERINI FORGE

This is the last historical forge that is still operating in the territory of Bienno; it derived from the incorporation of two factories, sold by Stefano Morandini “Paganì” to Giacinto Ballerini and then it passed to his sons Damiano, Pietro and Donato, who still manage it. It has always been a “scartadura” forge for the production of spades and shovels.
It is documented in the Napoleonic Map of 1821 with the numbers 1810 and 1811. The Ballerini Forge “Giahintì” still consents to understand the work of the forgeman, with the deafening noise of the hammer that knocks and the sound of the water and the wheel, the shake of the earth due to the strength of the iron when it is struck, the heat of the fire and the color of the hot iron, the skill of the “maistèr”, the masters forger and the attention of the “braschi”, who help the “maistèr”.
This forge makes us think back to what was Bienno until the seventies of the twentieth century, with the continuous noise of the hammers that was heard all over the country, with the trembling of the earth as you got near to the factories, with the soot that covered the forgemen and the forges and the smell of iron, so difficult to be defined, as the sensation that one feels walking on the iron scales that cover the floor of the forge. Even in this point the Vaso Ré (the Rè Duct) is in masonry with the suspended pipe that until 1955 was a wooden one and after it was built in cement.
The furnace was fed with wood until the fifties of the last century, it was subsequently stoked with coal and then with fuel oil and methane and from the twenty-first century with marsh gas.
All the instruments of the forge are active, the “érbor” and the other spare parts are preserved in a warehouse next to the forge. It is remarkable the architectural characterization of the forge seen from above for the complexity of the volumes that form it. It is also particular the narrow path that connects with Via Resoleto (Resoleto’s Street) always called “Vial del bao”, in other words Avenue of the devil.
There is also one of the five small fountains with a leaning half-goblet shape, the only without the floor, placed on a semicircular base with a moulded shaft and a rounded basin with a curved edge completely similar to the others present in the territory.