On the 29th August every year, the Consortium of the Canals of the Reno and Savena open the works and organize visits, giving information about their history, characteristics and operative functions both in the past and today.
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The intention was to furnish power to the mills and factories of the medieval city, then in full expansion, as well as creating navigable routes to take Bolognese products to international markets. So in Casalecchio in 1208, the first stable wooden sluice was built, paid for by the Bologna City Council.
Having a great amount of water from the river and having restructured the Reno Canal linking the sluice to the city, Bologna was thus able to fill a complex network of canals, drains and conduits, turning it into a city ofwater as well as a great European centre for the production of silk voile.
Rebuilt many times, the sluice was unable to resist floods. So in 1567, Pope Pious V ordered it to be reconstructed, imposing the maintenance on those who benefited from the water. Thus was created the great sluicebased on a designby the Vignola (Jacopo Barozzi), which is still today a marvellous testament to the period’s hydraulic engineering.
Moving towards Bologna along the canal, we encounter another building bearing witness to the productive history of Bologna linked to the water of the Reno Canal: the Filanda, a historical hemp factory, damaged in the Second World War and today partially rebuilt - the part looking onto the canal has become the seat of the “Casa per la Pace” (House for Peace).
Source: local Staff of Pianura Bolognese