We are talking about the Bottonera Mill, an antique watermill situated in the characteristic Bottonera neighborhood in Chiavenna.
The neighborhood is situated between the Castle and the Mera River, in the past it hosted various crafts activities: some breweries, a paper mill, a mallet, some cotton wool factories and the mill, built by Carlo Moro in 1867 with the purpose of producing flours for his pasta manufacturing plant and other local manufacturers.
These activities, like others of the area, exploited the water’s driving force, acquired from the river and channeled through pipelines that were replaced by electricity in the nineteen forties.
A system of lifts, belts and pulleys allowed easy movement and selection of the products to work on, it can be considered a remarkable example of artisanal woodworking.
Later the pasta manufacturing plant that had always guaranteed work for many Valchiavenna families, moved to the Tanno area and the building was sold by the Moros.
Local institutions, aided by volunteers, have committed to preserving the structure which is an actual piece of local traditional history. They put it to use appointing it to the Museum Manufacturing Archeology Section.
Thanks to the museum and the Valchiavenna tourism union that curates the section, this rare example of tradition and past of Valchiavenna can today be visited, accompanied by a guide who will take you back to the nineteenth century, the old activities of the neighborhood and its antique appeal.
Naturally the main use for the flours produced in this factory was destined to the manufacture of pizzoccheri, the famous typical Valtellina pasta that you can taste in the crotti (natural caves carved in the rocks). These are typical spaces carved in the mountain’s rocks, they maintain a constant temperature all year long, thus being ideal for wine and food preservation.
For the most part these are private spaces but some have been made available for food services so you will be able to taste the typical Valtellina style pizzoccheri, made following the original recipe with butter, sage, Savoy cabbage, potatoes and local cheese seasoning; alternatively you can try the Chiavenna recipe, pizzoccheri in the shape of small gnocchi served with butter and sage.
Don’t forget to pair this dish with one of the valley’s locally produced Nebbiolo wines.