Old kilns at Ponte dell'Olio
Recently restored by the municipality, the monumental complex of the kilns of Ponte dell'Olio was constructed from 1890 by the Azienda Calce Val Nure to produce quicklime for building purposes.
In fact, the first kiln, on a circular plan with four fire-rooms, was erected at this time by the company of Emilio Rossi, the father of Giovanni, the future founder of the "Industria Cementi Giovanni Rossi". It was again Emilio Rossi who decided to enlarge the plant, which was periodically revised up until the 1920s when other kilns were completed, bringing the total up to five in all. At that time the complex included a bread oven which the employees could use.
The kilns produced quicklime on an uninterrupted production cycle, heating the calcium carbonate brought in decauville (tip-up wagons) by rail and cableway from the quarries of Cà Dario and Teglio.
The production process involved continuous loading from above, so that the decauvilles with the material from the quarries were raised on lifts to the upper floor and from there the towers were filled with alternate layers of calcium carbonate and fine coal fuel.
A constant supply of fuel kept up combustion of the calcium stone while, on the basement floor, the workers unloaded the cooked material, extracting the quicklime, which was immediately stored in the adjacent warehouses.
The kilns of Ponte dell'Olio produced excellent quality lime for building, sold particularly in Piedmont.
The old kilns can be visited during the principal events organised by the municipality of Ponte dell'Olio.
Information and contacts: 0523 874411
Source: "Ponte con Piacere", published by the Comune di Ponte dell'Olio in 2008. Text by Lucia Cerri.