Ex Cementificio Marchino [Former Marchino Cement Works]
The "La Macine" factory was built in 1926 by initiative of Ottavio Marchino, on the southern slopes of the Calvana Mountains near Prato. The complex, which began production in 1927, is formed by four upright furnaces for the production of lime and cement, characterised by tall chimneys and subdivided into four units: limestone loading area, coal loading area, cooking crucible and cooling area, and clinker unloading area. In 1930, the complex was enlarged with the construction of a revolving furnace, characterised by a tall chimney. Downhill was the complex of mills where the clinker was ground after weathering.
Sited at various altitudes of Castiglioni hill, the mines were organised with a system of galleries, which reach an overall length of more than six kilometres. The material was excavated by hand, then transported to the upper court and, by means of an inclined surface, to the final court, and then sent to the furnace loading area or to the crusher.
Until World War II, the Marchino Cement Works was the principal production centre of mortar and cement in Tuscany, though it also had a market that went well beyond the regional sphere. In 1944, the upright furnaces and the chimney of the revolving furnace were mined by Nazi troops. Once the upright furnaces were put back in working order, the cement works continued producing until 1956, when production was definitively interrupted.
Today, given the location on which it stands and its particular architectural structure with tall chimneys, the factory constitutes an evocative monument of industrial architecture. There are plans for its rehabilitation and to destine a part of the complex to cultural activities.
Texts by Graziano Magrini
English translation by Victor Beard
Last update 30/gen/2008