Roggia molinara

The 'Roggia Molinara' was an artificial canal carrying water from the Navegna river – close to the bridge on the Brione to Contra road – towards San Martino before flowing into the Zandone and then the Remorino river. The canal was mentioned in the 1313 by-laws which laid down specific rights and duties concerning its use – the strength of the current was used for various activities, such as grinding grain, crushing flax and hemp, sawing logs and powering a hammer. Using the water for irrigation of gardens and lawns was prohibited during the week as was contaminating it by putting products into the canal to soak.
The ‘Rosott’ mill

The mills built along the ‘Roggia Molinara’ were used for many centuries in Minusio. The introduction of electricity and the concentration of commercial activities in larger buildings made the canal superfluous. Today it has dried up and few remnants remain.

Corn polenta, which became part of Ticino cuisine after the discovery of America, was a staple dish and ensured people did not go hungry. During World War II, the obligation to hand over the entire harvest for distribution in equal rations claimed with food stamps was seen by some as a threat to food security. A few baskets full of ‘carlòn’ (corn) were ground at night and then hidden in empty vats.
The miller’s donkey

The ‘Asinello dei mugnai’ (the millers’ donkey) is a work by the sculptor Schwerzmann produced in 1936. The nickname of ‘donkey’ given to the people of Minusio recalls the extensive use of these animals to transport the grain along rough tracks to the mills along the ‘Roggia Molinara’ canal.
Corn (Zeamays)
Corn, known as ‘carlòn’ in memory of Saint Charles Borromeo who helped to distribute it, was grown in the valley or in the fields of Minusio. The whole family got together to remove the husks, leaving some which were woven and used to hang out the cobs to dry. After shelling, the grain was then taken to the mill. Nothing was wasted as the husks were used to fill mattresses or as bedding for cattle, while the woody core provided kindling.