The ""Calchère" Kilns", memories of places and crafts

An old kiln.

Until the mid-twentieth century, a feature of the Valmalenco and the area around Lanzada in particular was the calchère, small kilns to produce lime for the construction industry. With the rise in industrial production immediately after the Second World War, these family-run kilns were shut down and the business came to an end.
The calchère in Tornadri have been brought back to life to show the tangible culture and work of man's skill, the spirit of the place and of an entire Alpine community. Nowadays, these tiny kilns which began out of the need to survive, of the struggle against famine and emigration are an extraordinary example of cultural and environmental identity, a unique heritage of the landscape to be protected as a valuable tourist attraction.

The place

The largest and most used calchère were those of Tornadri, at the bottom of the path to Brusada, on the left-hand bank of the Torrent Lanterna near the Pisa waterfall.

The poeple of the valley called them calchèri de la spazzada. Other calchère, now partly disappeared, are high up to the north of the meadow of the Dosso dei Vetti, at the top of the Val del Curnàsc, and at the bottom of the meadow of Cima Sassa.
An inventory in the archive of the Parish of Lanzada mentions them as early as 1670:

... calchere seu viale pecuda ad pascum Ganda

Documents of the inventory of the parish goods compiled by the parish priest Trioli in 1780 refer to:

the commune of the calchera