09.07 / 02.10 2016
Headquarter of the Information Point, it is the starting point of the itinerary. How to get there: from Milan, A1 motorway, exit Casalpusterlengo, then follow directions to Castel San Giovanni/Agazzano.
Located in via Roma, the road into Agazzano, halfway between the aristocratic Anguissola-Scotti Castle and piazza Europa, the former Consortium, dating from the late Thirties, is a splendid example of industrial architecture in a region which, until the late Nineteenth century, was typified by the diversification of its crops. After being officially designated as one of the hilly region’s thirteen branches, at a session of the Consiglio del Consorzio Agrarian held in Piacenza on the 6th of April 1900, the Municipality of Agazzano began to construct this large building with its (still visible) shed and vaulted roofs in order to handle the increasing numbers of credit applications from townspeople for the purchase of seeds, fertiliser, farming machinery and animals, and to provide space for the storage of goods.
Indeed, a farming census attests that in 1908 the Municipality of Agazzano produced 15,000 tonnes of grain, 20,000 tonnes of forage, 10,000 tonnes of beetroot and 31,000 tonnes of grapes (dessert grapes as well as wine-grapes, for export to Switzerland and Germany). Moreover, Agazzano was one of the first towns in the area to make the farming of beetroot and tomato popular. These crops partly replaced maize, which was less profitable and in a few, rare, cases linked to cases of pellagra.
Second leg of the itinerary. From Agazzano head towards Piozzano. 1.5 km beyond the town take the left fork towards lower Monteventano. After driving for 2 km follow the signs for C.Ar.D. 2016.
This farm, situated below the road, consists of several buildings, probably constructed at various times from the late Nineteenth Century to the Nineteen Thirties. The living quarters are housed in a three sided cascina and characterised by a succession of small rooms with exposed wood beam ceilings. The outlying buildings consist of two large stables, a two-storey hayloft and a tool shed, all built of stone and bricks. There are also some elaborate features, such as the fireplace in the living quarters and the lancet windows in the stables.
Third leg of the itinerary. From Molino Calcagni drive back to the fork and turn left towards San Gabriele, following the signs for C.Ar.D. 2016.
This building was constructed in the late Thirties for use as a Consorzio Provinciale, the aim of which was to combine the duties and tasks of the local farming consortium and the national Federconsorzi. The location of San Gabriele was chosen for the unique features of the surrounding land, which were ideal for growing forage, corn and grapes. The longest axis of the rectangular building is parallel to the street. The building is a single block with annexed living quarters.
Fourth leg of the itinerary. At the Pianello Val Tidone roundabout, take the third exit, and then head towards viale Leonardo da Vinci. At the junction with via Mascaretti, turn left.
Via Mascaretti on the corner of viale Leonardo Da Vinci, Pianello Val Tidone. The storehouses of via Mascaretti replicate the typical industrial depots of the Nineteen Fifties, built on two floors, one at street level and the other at basement level.
At the end of viale Leonardo da Vinci, turn into via Castagnetti. The Bowls Alley is halfway along on the left.
The former indoor bowls alley is a two storey building which still bears traces of the past and the type of activities that used to take place there. On the ground floor you can still see the decor of a typical Sixties bar and the space which was once occupied by the lanes.
The last leg. Leave Pianello Val Tidone, cross the bridge over the Tidone, turn right. After driving for 1.5 km, park on the right (c/o Ristorante Antica Trattoria Strà) as signposted.
This small chapel dates from the second half of the Seventeenth Century and was owned by the Specia or Spezia family who, after the bishop gave his permission to Reverend Giovanni Battista Specia in 1721, began to restore the original, unsafe, chapel.
The new building, which lacked a bellower, was built with a vaulted ceiling and a single altar made of terracotta, behind which there was a fresco depicting Saint Francis. We know that in 1788 the chaplain, Don Cristoforo Spezia, celebrated mass at weekends and on weekdays for the local community as the parish church of Pianello was too faraway for them to reach.
In 1821 the chapel was dedicated to Saint Francis and Saint Charles and in 1855 it became the property of the Varesi family after the last of the Spezia line married a Varesi. After the jus patronatus of the Varesi family ended in the early Nineteen hundreds the chapel was only used for Sunday services until 1961, when it was closed and deconsecrated after the opening of the new parish church of of Strà. Today it is private property.