The Mills of Barco Reale and Fornia - Vinci (FI) -

A remarkable eighteenth-century plan of the Royal Possessions preserved in the State Archives of Florence represents the bird's eye view of the Barco Reale taken from the bend of the Arno. It is one of the rare iconographic sources that show the entire perimeter of the surrounding wall with all its passages. There are at least sixteen. The main road was given by the ridge road that from Artimino passes through San Martino in Campo, San Giusto and then the tower of Sant'Alluccio, which Leonardo designed before it was included within the Medici estate, in the famous view of Montalbano RL 12685 of Windsor. Under the Sant'Allucio tower you can see a watercourse flowing on the Vinci side: it surely is the Balenaia creek that used to drive the mills of Vallebuia, many of which must have been already there when Leonardo was alive. Traveling through the gorge of Balenaia, along the so-called 'Road of the mills', you reach a preserved section of the Barco Reale wall beyond which there are two mills driven by the same stream. When the wall, about two meters high, met, overcoming it, a stream, it was necessary to create a sluice, an opening equipped with a metal grid that would let the stream flow while preventing the exit of large game cut from the bandit's fence. An example of this type of artifact is found just above Sant'Amato, in correspondence with a preserved section of the Barco Reale wall which can be reached from path 16 B of the 'map of hiking itineraries' of the municipality of Vinci. Some surviving portions of the Barco Mediceo wall are visible just above Bacchereto, near Pietramarina, in the locality of Fornia, toponym drawn by Leonardo in the famous view of Montalbano del bifoglio Madrid II 22v-23r, reachable from path 300 of the 'map of hiking itineraries' of the municipality of Vinci.

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