The Serafini family has a watermill that runs through their house. Literally. Unlike vertical watermills, theirs is horizontal… the water wheel is situated under the house.
A part of the river is redirected to the home of Dina and Guido and when the mill is in use, the water runs underneath it. You would think their first concern was the humidity, but their ancestors in the 1700s knew a thing or too about building with temperature control in mind. The result is that the house is always dry and not too hot in the summer, nor too cold in the winter. How’s that for antique air-conditioning?
There used to be quite a few water mills in the upper Val Tiberina (upper Tiber Valley) that ground (macinare) wheat, corn and barley for the area, especially during the last war, recounted Guido. Now, they are one of the few left.
In the photograph Guido is regulating the amount of water flow – the more water, the faster the water wheel turns and, therefore, the faster the grindstones turn, grinding the grains.
Under the house, you can see the 300 year-old water wheel’s wooden blades attached to the shaft, which in turn is attached to the grindstones situated up above. 18th Century Umbrian mill engineering at its absolute best!