The "farina bóna" (flour) is a traditional product of the Onsernone Valley. It is a maize flour (Zea mais), obtained by grinding the lightly toasted grain very finely. In the past, it supplemented the daily diet of the inhabitants of the valley accompanied by milk, water or wine. The change in eating habits after World War II caused its importance to gradually diminish.
The production of "farina bóna" was completely abandoned at the end of the 1960s (of the 20th century), after the last local millers (Annunciata Terribilini and Remigio Meletta) ceased their activities. However, the initiatives and research developed following the restoration of the Loco mill by the Onsernonese Museum in 1991 succeeded in recovering the memory of this ancient product and timidly resuming its production.
Ten years later, a mention in Slow Food's 'ark of taste' and the commitment of a teacher, with the involvement of the valley's school institute, made it possible to deepen historical knowledge and restore the Vergeletto mill (2013) - where "farina bóna" is currently manufactured - thus creating the conditions for an increase in production, the expansion of by-products (macaroons, biscuits, bonella, beer, gallette, etc.) and making this particular flour known beyond the borders of the Onsernone valley.
The "farina bóna" is on sale at the mill and the Onsernonese Museum in Loco, as well as in numerous shops.
The mill of Loco
The water mill with stone millstones, dating back to the 18th century, underwent extensive restoration work to restore its operation and has been active again since 1991. This made it possible to restart the milling of maize to produce polenta flour and set the stage for the revival and re-evaluation of the "farina bóna".
Situated close to the main road, above a cliff overlooking the spectacular waterfall of the Bordione stream, the Loco mill - together with that of Vergeletto - is a living testimony to the important milling activity of the entire Onsernone valley, where at the end of the 19th century there were as many as 27 working mills, now almost all disappeared or no longer in operation.
On the upper floor, an educational exhibition illustrates the history and techniques of cereal milling, while on the lower floor is the production room with the stone millstones, moved by the external water wheel.
Open from April to October:
Thursday, 2 - 5 pm
Saturday/Sungay, 10 am - midday / 2 - 5 pm
Vergeletto Mill Park
Vergeletto's historic mills can be visited all year round, following the Park trail along which there are panels telling the history of the mills and much more. It is also possible to take guided tours to discover the history of the village and that of the "farina bóna".
Info: Museo Onsernonese, Loco
Tel. +41 (91) 797 10 70 - email@example.com
Mulin di Ulüc (owls’ mill)
This mill was in operation for only about thirty years. The only 'milling' memory is the millstone outside.
Mulin di Venenzi (mill of the Venanzi family)
On the lower floor, old tools are on display, while on the upper floor the miller's room has been refurbished and decorated with some straw objects. A hole in the floor allowed the miller to control the work of the millstone and refill the hopper without going outside.
Mulin di Sindig’üi
This mill was active until 1957, when the miller Annunciata Terribilini, a true specialist of the “farina bóna”, died. It was equipped with two millstones and it is said that one was for rye and the other for maize. In 2013, one was put back into operation for the production of the “farina bóna”.
Farina bóna workshop
In the past and until 1980 this was the school gymnasium. Now it houses the roasting machine, several stone mills with electric motors, a vibrating sieve and other machinery: it is the preferred place for producing the “farina bóna” when there is not enough water at the Sindig'üi mill.