Our house is a 200-year-old stone structure that is part of a former water-powered flour mill complex.

 

The house itself was once a water-powered mill-- or a “mulino” in Italian. About 50 meters downhill, there is also a smaller mulino that will one day be a guest house.

The Mulino sits in what feels like our own private valley in the foothills of the Apennine Mountains. The surrounding parcels of land are now abandoned farm land, and the only structure visible from our valley is a medieval tower on the top of the hills behind the meadow.

The Mulino is a 900 square foot (100 square meter) structure that is approximately 200 years old. It sleeps six people comfortably in three bedrooms.


On the first floor, you will find the kitchen, a bedroom and the bathroom. On the second floor you’ll find the master bedroom and the family room. The sleeping balcony containing two twin beds is above the family room and is reached by the spiral staircase.

The Mulino is located in the easternmost point of Tuscany in the township (Comune) of Sestino (http://www.comunedisestino.it/). The town of Sestino contains four corner grocery stores, a gas station, a hardware store, two bars, two banks, a butcher, a baker, a pharmacy and a restaurant. 

Sestino also has a 1,000-year-old Romanesque church, a museum of Roman artifacts, a tourism office, and a public library with public DSL Internet access. Sestino is typical of the communities within a 30-minute drive of the Mulino -- quiet, friendly, charming.

 

At one time, the structure served as a flour mill, miller’s house, cattle stall and grain warehouse. The Mulino is built of local stone. Its walls are about 3 feet thick at the base, and 2 feet thick at the top.

When we bought il Mulino in 2005 there was neither electricity nor plumbing in the house, and it had not been occupied for approximately 70 years.

By the fall of 2006 the renovation was completed on the main mulino. The small mulino structure had been restored, but the interior renovation has not yet begun.

On the tax maps, il Mulino is known as the “Mulino di Monteromano,” but to the locals, it is also known as “Mulino di Romaggio,” although no one we’ve met can tell us the source or meaning of this alternate name.

The water for the mills was gathered in a small mill-pond where the parking area is now, and it was released through a canal that fed into a tunnel and turbine under the large mulino before running downhill to the second smaller mulino below.

Italian mills do not have the large waterwheel that rotates vertically that one thinks of when imagining a water powered mill. Instead, the mill was powered by smaller paddle wheel turbine that was housed in tunnel that ran underneath the main Mulino.

The turbine then turned a grindstone that looked something like this.