The Old Iron Works – La Ferriera in Rosanisco Atina
In 1850 the Bourbon King Ferdinand II commissioned a new iron works to be built in Atina. Its purpose was to extract iron from the ore mined in the nearby area of Monte Meta. There have been mines situated in this area of the Val di Comino since Samnite / Roman times. Indeed, it was this that historically gave Atina much of its wealth and furthermore the name of Atina Potens. The iron works was to be built in the hamlet of Rosanisco, on the right bank of the River Melfa. Construction work commenced in 1855 and La Ferriera opened for business in 1858. It soon began smelting iron ore in its huge blast furnace which had a large air pump or bellows to ventilated it. The foundry began producing good quality cast iron and it became known locally as La Magona. Production went well, however these were turbulent times. Then came the fall of the House of Bourbon and the Kingdom of Naples in 1860. This was to be the dawning of the Unification of Italy. Consequently the iron works were forced to close down and the site was left abandoned.
La Ferriera Winery
The property was purchased by the Mancini family and today it has been transformed into a winery. Today the old furnace is draped with a colourful curtain of vines and creepers.
There is a spacious courtyard surrounded by buildings which were once utilised as warehouses. These were used to store raw materials, or utilised as workshops, administrative offices and accommodation for the some of the workers. In the centre of the courtyard stands an ancient poplar tree.
The Cabernet and Syrah varieties of grape are cultivated in the vineyards of the estate of Colle Alto in lower Atina, in the beautiful Val di Comino. In some of the old buildings of the Iron Works modern equipment has been installed for the production of wine with controlled temperature and an inert atmosphere in order to obtain a good extraction. The wine is aged in barrels made of a type of oak with maturing on the lees, and finally in the bottles.
La Ferriera specializes in the production of quality red wines with the designation of origin Atina Cabernet DOC. It is possible to arrange, by appointment, to visit La Ferriera and sample some of its quality local wines.
Photos have been accredited to the photographer / owner.
All other photos I have taken myself – © Louise Shapcott