LA GUALCHIERE DI REMOLE FULLING MILL
Bagno a Ripoli, Florence
Dating to Medieval times, the Gualchiere di Remole Fulling Mill tapped the Arno River for power used to treat wool cloth. Founded in the mid-1300s, the site was chosen to avoid more polluted waters downriver in Florence. In time a larger complex evolved including river barriers, a series of water-gates directing water to the millpond and to a little harbor. The medieval character of the buildings is still preserved to this day in the support structure and two-crenelated towers.
The Leonardo da Vinci complex is one of the sole survivors of the numerous buildings scattered from the Middle Ages onwards along the banks of the Arno River. Active for more than five centuries with remarkably preserved architecture and plumbing, the structures form an important reference in the landscape of pre-industrial European archeology. Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings of the mills illustrate techniques used in the water mills and allow for the application to recent scientific knowledge about the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. The Leonardo da Vinci Museum recognizes the importance of the mills as part of the complete scientific study of his works. With the support of the museum, part of the restoration will be to recreate Leonardo Da Vinci’s Laboratory with his machines and research in a tower of the mill.
Ten years of perseverance and hard-work on the ‘Gualchiere di Ramole' project situated in Florence, Italy has brought it back to life with many exciting opportunities ahead. We would like to thank Col. Michael Carrington, Pietro Laureano Architect and President of Icomos Italia and Ipogea, Luciano Bartolini the former Mayor of Bagno a Ripoli and Dario Nardella the Mayor of Florence for many years of continued efforts to restore the Gualchiere di Ramole.
With authorization from Tuscany, Florence, and Bagno a Ripoli authorities, The Maria Nobrega Foundation, ICOMOS, IPOGEA and Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco have taken on the task of restoring the complex and introducing economic activity to the site.
It is intended that the Mill should become the centre for the UNESCO International Traditional Knowledge Institute.
HIRH Andreas Salvator Habsburg-Lotringen, Col. Michael Carrington, Luciano Bartolini the formar Mayor of Bagno a Ripoli, Pietro Laureano President of Icomos Italia and Ipogea
Colonel Michael Carrington
Luciano Bartolini the former Mayor of Bagno a Ripoli and Dario Nardella the Mayor of Florence
The Gualchiere di Ramole meeting in Florence, Italy
Colonel Michael Carrington
The Gualchiere di Ramole added significant value to Florence since the 14th century by providing clean hydraulic energy for wool processing and mills. All operation had been completely abandoned but thanks to public support and the Municipality of Florence, which owns the mill the procedure to restore the significant structures has been accepted. This opens up the possibility of a large participatory design process for the recovery of this historical monument building upon its strong local identity, as a symbol of sustainability and the link between the city and the Arno river.
The medieval architectural structure located on the unique landscape of the banks of the Arno, forms an authentic fortified village. Overlooking the Arno the ‘Gualchiere di Ramole’ is crowned by two towers and accessed by bridges, under these flow large streams of water which supplied water power to the large wheels and mills. This part is faced by another 1000 square feet of workshops and medieval houses. The structures construct part of a vast green area of pertinent use. The restoration project is focused around retaining these structural principles.
The ‘Gualchiere di Ramole’ is a unique artifact in the history of science and industrial archeology. The restoration is a key component in addressing the preservation of fundamental structures, which protect the landscape and ecosystems and that are able to provide essential resources such as water and sustainable energy.
The International President of The Maria Nobrega Foundation and International President of ITKI, Elizabeth Nobrega Tsakiroglou, Col. Michael Carrington, Dario Nardella, the Mayor of Florence, Luciano Bartolini, the former Mayor of Bagno a Ripoli on the Arno River, Florence
The mills represent the advanced level of Florentine skill for the art of textiles. This high quality skill is still a source of pride in Tuscan towns. In the areas around the museum and park the mills will re-establish areas for quality workshops and stores. The new buildings and whole restoration will continue based on a manifesto of ecological architecture and a certificate of sustainability from UNESCO.
Examples of Florentine Textiles
Signing of the official documents, September 2009 Palazzo Vechhio
The signing of the International Traditional Knowledge Institute (ITKI) official documents for the Gualchiere di Ramole was in September 2009 at Palazzo Vechhio. Present at the signing was Col. Michael Carrington, Luciano Bartolini, the former Mayor of Bagno a Ripoli, Dario Nardella, the Mayor of Florence, the President of The Maria Nobrega Foundation and President of ITKI Elizabeth Nobrega Tsakiroglou and Pietro Laureano, the Director of Icomos Italia and Ipogea.