The Castle Wheel

The Mysterious Object: The Wheel of Torre Alfina Castle

In a hidden room of the castle is an enigmatic vertically mounted iron wheel. What is it and what was the wheel of Torre Alfina Castle used for?

Objects used in past eras often appear mysterious and intriguing to our contemporary eyes. Beneath the appearance of simple artefacts are often hidden ingenious and innovative solutions that have marked the history and daily lives of people. One of these fascinating objects is the large Iron wheel of the Torre Alfina Castleobject that played a key role in the distribution of water in the rooms of theancient dwelling.

Table of contents:
  1. Access to water in medieval dwellings
  2. Bathing culture during the Renaissance
  3. Historical testimony of human ingenuity

Water in Medieval Dwellings

In general, medieval castles and noble residences were equipped with wells, cisterns and decorative tanks, often located in inner courtyards or gardens. These structures served as domestic water access points. But in the Middle Ages, the need for water was limited almost exclusively to cooking. There were no plumbing or sewage systems. Toilets, when present, were either open seats directly on the moat or on holding tanks. Personal hygiene was an unknown concept. Only gentlemen indulged in the occasional bath in a basin and there were no real bathing rooms. The water distribution was therefore entrusted to servants who filled buckets or other containers and carried them to the kitchen or to the stately rooms to satisfy daily needs.

Renaissance and Bath Culture

It was not until the Renaissance period that a new functional bathroom concept. The increased care devoted to personal hygiene, the drive towards refinement and comfort for the environment dedicated to body practices, led to the need to create a mechanised water distribution system and more efficient.
So we come to the unravelling of our mystery. The large iron wheel of the Torre Alfina Castle is a flywheel, a heavy disc connected to a hand pump which allowed water to be drawn from the cistern located in the castle courtyard. By operating the large wheel, the water rose to fill other cisterns strategically placed on the towers. From here, using gravitational force, water flowed through an intricate system of pipes to reach all the rooms in the castle.

Testimony of Human Ingenuity

The flywheel of the Torre Alfina Castle remained in operation until 1960when the manual pump was replaced by an electric one. Despite this the distribution system remained unchanged and water continues to supply the castle rooms by cascading down from the castle towers. Today it represents a historical testimony to the power of human ingenuity of transforming an everyday object into a fundamental instrument of innovation. The preservation of objects no longer in use represents a tangible testimony of our historical and technological evolution. Keeping the memory of these objects alive, we preserve the link with our past. These objects are not mere relics, but bridges connecting the past to the future, offering valuable perspectives on our ever-evolving journey.

business event

The Engaging Fun of the Business Event

The Experiential Training BarCamp 2023 (ETB), held at the Torre Alfina Castle last weekend, was a resounding success. The halls and historic garden as the perfect setting for a corporate event

The Experiential Training has just ended BarCamp 2023 (ETB) theevent business organised by theConnectance Association and dedicated to the methodology of experiential learning. 107 participants including trainers, consultants, company referents, Human Resources managers but also simply curious people interested in the experiential training methodology. A unique, fun and stimulating event, enhanced by the elegant setting provided by the castle.

Table of contents:
  1. The perfect business location
  2. Heritage and the contemporary

The Perfect Business Location

The ambitious aim of the ETB was to promote free thinking, curiosity and the dissemination of experiential education through participatory learning. And thecosy and magical atmosphere of the Torre Alfina Castle created the perfect location in which to achieve the result. The garden of the castle turned into a creative workshop and play became the learning methodology. The historical halls welcomed the cheerful involvement of the participants in the numerous workshops organised. And again, moments of socialisation, buffets and dinnerswere the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the art, stories and mysteries linked to our historic home. The ETB also included an award to honour the workshop with the best feedback. The award ceremony turned into an unforgettable convivial moment sharing and merriment.

Combining History and Contemporaneity

The Experiential Training BarCamp 2023 at Torre Alfina Castle was much more than just a business event. It was a moment in which the our country's historical and artistic heritage and contemporary merged into a single symphony of opportunity. The centuries-old walls of the castle provided a inspiring and meaningful environment to a cutting-edge business event. At the end of this experience, we all take with us not only the knowledge we have gained and the connections we have made, but above all a renewed awareness of the potential inherent in the intertwining of our historical roots and the path to the future.
So we look forward to an even more exciting experience next year.

Castle of Torre Alfina

The Castle of Torre Alfina: A Jewel in the Heart of Alta Tuscia

In the heart of the Alta Tuscia region, in northern Lazio, stands an ancient jewel of history and architecture: the Torre Alfina Castle with its marvellous Renaissance garden. This majestic medieval fortress, whose origins are shrouded in mystery, is a silent witness to the glorious past of the region
Table of contents:
  1. Birth and history of the castle
  2. Centre of political power
  3. Renaissance and transformation
  4. The Contemporary Period
  5. The future of Torre Alfina Castle

The Origins of Torre Alfina Castle

The construction of the Castle of Alfina Tower probably dates back to the early Middle Ages, a period in which the whole of Europe flourished fortified structures with a mainly defensive purpose. They were commissioned by local nobles or lords and placed on hills or heights to allow strategic observation of possible military attacks or plundering by marauders. The birth of active villages around the fortress then allowed commercial activities to flourish. The precise origins of the Torre Alfina Castle remain shrouded in mystery. There is no single name associated with the construction of the fortress, but the First historical annotations can be found in the 'Commentari Istorici'. of Monaldo Monaldeschi della Cervara. These documents testify to the existence of a watch tower, later transformed into a castle during the Longobard reign of King Desiderius in the 8th century.

Strategic Centre in the Middle Ages

The geographical position of Torre Alfina Castle, between the Papal States and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, gave it a key role in the control of important communication routes. The population of Alfina increased dramatically, transforming the village into a centre of considerable political, commercial and cultural significance. The Monaldeschi family, followed by the Cervara branch, gave rise to the Alfina Seigniory, which dominated the region from around 1200 to 1600. During this period, the castle became the fulcrum of their power, gradually incorporating new surrounding lands and villages.

Renaissance Transformation

The Renaissance era was the perfect occasion for a impressive transformation for the Torre Alfina Castle, from a simple defensive structure into a sumptuous stately residence. Thanks to the contribution of local artists, the interiors were enriched with decorations and frescoes and the battlements running around the castle perimeter were softened by a renaissance garden Italian-stylemaking the castle an oasis of beauty and modern culture.

Contemporary Revival

In the second half of the 17th century, and for about two centuries, the Castle of Torre Alfina passed by inheritance to the Tuscan Marquises Bourbon del Monte, who continued to maintaining the prestige of the castle and the village of Alfina. With the unification of Italy and the extinction of the Bourbon del Monte lineage, the castle experienced a rebirth, after being purchased by a wealthy Belgian Jewish banker, Count Edoardo Cahen d'Anvers. Awarded this title thanks to the merits of his father, Giuseppe Mayer, (the only European banker to finance the Risorgimento), in 1885 Edoardo Cahen was named Marquis of Torre Alfina by Umberto I. The new ownership initiated a majestic renovation of the historic mansionaccording to the project entrusted to the Sienese architect Giuseppe Partini.

Present and Future

The Torre Alfina Castle is a living witness to the historical and cultural transformations of the area and still today attracts and fascinates visitors from all over the world. La refined atmosphere of its interior and Renaissance garden with its wonderful courtyards is the perfect wedding location fairy-tale and elegant. It also offers the perfect setting for photo shoots, film and music, bringing to life the traditions and extraordinary historical heritage of Alta Tuscia Laziale.

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