Fournais – Rorà

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Hi there!

Today we are in Rorà (in Pellice valley), in a place called Fournais (which means “the furnace”); in ancient times, and till late 19th century, lime used to be produced here. That’s why people from Rorà are also called “Brusapère” (“stone burners”), ‘cause most of them used to work in the many kilns located round here where lime was produced!

Here's the ancient furnace which gives its name to this hamlet
Here’s the ancient furnace which gives its name to this hamlet

Lime is a material known and used since ancient times, and it is obtained by baking (at a very high temperature) limestone (which is a very common rock in the valley of Rorà).
Once mixed with water the stone melts and it can be used like cement… Its making requires a long processing that was carried out in several places… just like the place we are in today!

I guess, with the fire lit, I could not stay here!
I guess, with the fire lit, I could not stay here!

Not far from here calcareous rocks were mined; in addition to the stones, Brusapère had also to carry over their shoulders or by mule many and many bundles of wood from nearby forests. Stones were then made into small pieces and put into the furnace, and after that the fire was lit. The cooking process required 4 to 7 days… But even more time was needed to be able to take the stones from the furnace, since lime could also take two weeks to cool down!

Here the stones were cooking
Here the stones were cooking

Mules were then loaded up again and taken downhill through mountain trails in order to deliver lime. At the end of 19th century a road going from Pontevecchio to Rorà was built, and transportation became much easier: using carts a lot more material could be carried in the plains. Consider that lime coming from Rorà was known and appreciated for its peculiar strength even in Turin!

How to get here
leave Luserna San Giovanni taking the Provincial Road 162 and follow the signs to Rorà that will take you up to the village. Go through the village and, following Fornaci street, after a bit more than 1 km you will find, on your right, the Fournais.

Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?