ART AND CRAFTS
The waterwheels of Santa Libera mill, at Salzàn of Santa Giustina, still turn, moved by the waters of the millrace fed by the Vesès stream. The mill, active since 1526, could grind twelve quintals of wheat and the same volumes of maize. The building housed the milling equipment on the ground floor and the granary on the upper floor.
The millrace of Ignan-Salzan (or “del Molino”), which runs alongside the cycle path up to the footbridge over the Vesès, is the only one still in use. In the past there were three of them and up to twenty-four water wheels worked along the Vesès, powering hydraulic hammers, grindstones, mills, sawmills and fulling mills. The themed path “Via Dell’Acqua” retraces this story from the foot of Mount Pizzocco to the ancient mill of Santa Libera.
BORGO PIAVE, THE PORT OF THE “ZATTIERI”
After crossing the Ponte della Vittoria, on the wall of via Uniera del Zatèr, the visitor is struck by a series of murals created by the artist Marta Farina: they represent the story of the “zattieri” (rafters) of the Piave river, the brave sailors who transported timber, goods and people along the Piave from Perarolo down to Venice.
Among the numerous river ports on the Piave, one of the most important was precisely that of Borgo Piave, in Belluno. One enters the neighborhood by going down via Riva San Nicolò, overlooked by the elegant 15th-century Palazzo Secco, with fresco decorations from the 16th century. One then enters the delightful little square, with the church of San Nicolò, protector of the “zattieri”, built in 1361 and subsequently modified to its current neoclassical appearance. The mooring columns of the rafts are stored in the churchyard.
THE LIME KILNS
The lime kilns are very simple circular structures, stone furnaces partly submergd and open at the top, which are very common in Val Belluna.
Until the 1950’s you could see one, not far from the hamlet of Bardies (one of the detours of the Val Belluna Ring), which has been recently recovered thanks to the significant contribution of the Gruppo Natura Lentiai.
The ancient lime kilns were set near the creek riverbed from where they took the calcareous stones. After the lime high-flame combustion, which lasted for a few days, using dead branches,the stones were moved to a pit, dampened and ground into very fine powder to transform it into hydrated lime.
This substance, which was non toxic and antibacterial,was used to obtain mortar, to disinfest cowsheds and barns, to whitewash houses and safeguard seeds and plants against parasites.
The lime kilns of the Val Canzoi were very famous in the whole area. Thanks to the involvment of the Dolomiti Bellunesi Park, some of them have been recently recovered to preserve this ancient traditions keeping alive the memory of this craft.