The Hidden Salento
There is a hidden Salento, an underground Salento, made of hidden monuments built by man in ancient times.
It is the world of the underground oil mills: little known, difficult to find, but often of a shocking beauty. Excavated in the rock, they are the custodian places of the peasant culture of the past, where
olives were processed to turn them into oil, every year from November to May.
Under the guidance of the “Nachiro”, the “underground oil mill workers” dealt with the production process. We will be happy to tell you about the world of the underground oil mills, in particular that of the Mulino a vento (Windmill),
with all the anecdotes and legends concerning this particular underground world.
"Trappito" Mulino a Vento (Windmill)
The underground oil mill Mulino a Vento (Windmill) is located on the ancient route that connected the town of Cerfignano to Otranto
and dates back to the 16th century: it has a large central circular space, around which the different areas develop their own functions, with presses, tanks, stone blocks and grinders.
The oil was produced thanks to the grinding of the olives carried out with molar stones, that was turned by a donkey. The name is linked to the exploitation of wind-driven blades used to help the donkey in the pressing of the olives.
Since 2008 it has been endowed with those features
of “spectacularization”, which allows visitors to be involved through visual, sound and light instruments. Such as the short film “Dei nachiri e dei mercanti” (“Of the nachiri and merchants”) made by directors Edoardo Winspeare and Corrado Punzi.
The Legend of the Striare (Witches)
“A sutta ll’acqua and a sutta u jentu … (Under the water and under the wind) A sutta u noce de mulinu a jentu” Anyone who walked the street at night, was forced by the “strìare” (the witches) to dance to exhaustion and to sing with them: “dance dance niri and dance hard, if you run away from this dance you won’t be back at night!”
Of the Nachiri and merchants
The guided tour of the underground oil mill Mulino a Vento, is a fascinating experience to discover the world of oil production and trade from the years 1500 to 1800.