The Flume and the Textile Craft
The Casa dei Turchi is still the first house outside the old city wall to the south. Why was it built? For what purpose? The known facts are as follows: the Casa Dei Turchi appears in the records from the mid 17th cent., 50 years after the settlement began of the new district beyond Ponte Forbato. This new activity in this part of the city was linked to the development of hydropower, using ditches and mills, presumably for the textile industry to operate looms. Notary records from the late 17th c. show inheritance and sale documents between members of the Mona family (a Venetian name not Turkish).
It is likely, therefore, that it was built in the 17th c., along with other houses, in the new neighbourhood of San Tomaso. It held a strategic position beside the river while remaining close to the city.
The functional and space efficient architecture (low ceilings, steep staircases, wooden floors, basements and service areas just beside the water) lends itself to housing for the craft workers rather than a rich business family. The restoration of the Casa dei Turchi was primarily an exercise in the historical-philosophical and semantic context of urban planning and archaeology.
For us the true value of the work is the interest and enjoyment for the beneficiaries : a beautiful house in a unique urban location, with spectacular views of the castle, the old town and the river, a powerful presence that has flowed by the house for centuries.