The milling of wheat originated at the mists of time. In Sicily, was introduced the system of water mills (molae aquariae), especially around Enna, because the abundance of the water was such that it could be used as a driving force.
The mills of the area were built along rivers, cascading, harnessing the power of water and were designed horizontal wheel, used as a water flow limited, as the rivers Sicilians, being torrential, the horizontal wheel work even when water levels aree low.
Some of the Enna mills were built on ancient structures already used as water mills, probably built by the Arabs who left, in Sicily, ingenious water systems, still visible.
The valleys welcoming many mills, were very transited as true conurbations, since the mill should not be seen isolated but along the river, the sewer system, the royal pathway that wound functioning and well maintained: we can be equivalent to today’s highways. The mill had a charm also social, because it was a meeting point between millers, hired servants and farmers, creating contacts between the rural populations living in isolated and vast countryside.
In a context globalized from a marketing, we can define, exasperated, aggressive and urgent, we find, in the land of Sicily, who is still anchored in production of handicrafts characteristic of the territory. Another aspect, not secondary, is the memory of the historical and social life of campaigns, which featured the rural world, that, for centuries, has been the basis of life in Sicily.
This itinerary also want to involve children whThe valleys welcoming many mills, were very transited as true conurbations, since the mill should not be seen isolated but along the river, the sewer system, the royal pathway that wound functioning and well maintained: we can be equivalent to today’s highways. The mill had a charm also social, because it was a meeting point bo are, from a recent survey, not conscious of origin of the primary products of the daily diet. This makes vain effort implemented against obesity adolescent, if you do not have the appropriate knowledge. Sicily, thanks to its geographical location and climatic conditions, offers unique products that make up the fine and healthy Mediterranean diet, much appreciated by nutritionists. The UE programs enhance organic farming, but the most influential countries often damage to the weakest and marginal regions.
This has led to the gradual loss of productive human competitiveness, the “false” need to disseminate the products of large-scale, the short-sighted action of Marketing that does not consider the internal market, particularly at zero miles. These minimum and just mentioned weaknesses of the food market, not only Sicilian, give us reason for the choice to propose a reverse path. So “the ways of the water mills” are a pretext to recover years of neglect to the countryside, and the letal misinformation that affects our lifestyles. Our proposal is born from the direct analysis of product that can be traced on the shelves: Piacentino PDO cheese, Dittaino loaf PDO, Leonforte peach PGI, black lentils, Leonforte broad bean and, rice, and the prickly pear of Piazza Armerina. It also arises from the observation of one of the busiest food markets of Sicily: the pastry and bakery.
Pasta, bread and desserts are 20% of the expenditure of the Sicilian people that, though decreasing, is still nearly 10% of the Italian population.
To do this, it need wheat, flour. And to go in search of grain, our Sicily has created many myths, gods and traditions connected to it. From the time of the Sicilians and Sicani, and then Siceliots of ancient Rome, the Gauls, the Byzantines and Arabs, Normans, Swabians, Angevins French, Spanish Catalans, Bourbons of Naples to unrealistic imperialism the first decades of the twentieth century, Sicily was considered real barn of these peoples.
Fine grain, so-called “wheat”, which continues to produce in our land, is unmatched for its organoleptic characteristics, climate-related, to the land, to its genetic constitution. Wealth and wars have alternated in the Mediterranean for the domain of the Sicilian land or grain. The wheat has been a source of wealth for the cities that have flourished in our island, to put them at the top, for the greatness and beauty of public, private and religious buildings, all over the Mediterranean world. Wheat is also important for healthy food and farm animals and dairy. All this would not make the slightest thought to the depopulation of our countryside, once considered barns, where alternated hardworking farmers who handed down knowledge and traditions.
But people willing and hardworking, today is repopulating areas using them for quality productions, that tourists will find on the loca shops. Starting by a bank of pastry or bakery we can explain the production process and lead tourists on farms and in the countryside close to the water mills, in Enna province, which although ruins, evidence of the great vitality that developed around them. The Enna mills, little known, are real jewels mechanical and hydraulic inventiveness, which allowed their operation even in periods of low water, because driven by horizontal wheels; still today indicate, on the territory ways and districts typified by the culture of wheat.
So, to trace the mills, even those surveyed only on paper, you are forced, pleasantly, to cross the countryside, farms, valleys, archaeological sites that preserve ancient systems of milling, nature reserves, drive along rivers and lakes, a nature that will wrap with a gentle hug and a pleasant fragrance. Places where you feel the myth of Ceres.