Venetian Sawmills in Rabbi
Museums and castles
The Venetian sawmills «dei Braghje» and «dei Bègoi» are a characteristic feature on the banks of the Torrente Rabbiés. This ancient water-driven machinery that once was the first mechanical device for sawing tree trunks into planks, today are museum pieces of great interest, which are an important part of the environmental heritage of Val di Rabbi. With great ability, craftsmen from another era, who already had a profound knowledge of technical constructions, perfected the functioning of these sawmills that can be considered masterpieces of mechanical engineering to the present day.
These ancient water-powered machines, once used for basic timber cutting, are now stand-alone museums that preserve and enhance the landscape-environmental heritage of Val di Rabbi. Their smoothly running mechanisms are the work of craftsmen of a bygone age, masters of construction techniques that are rightly considered mechanical engineering masterpieces to this day. Once widespread, water-powered sawmills exploited the energy of running water to make planks and beams from raw timber. They started to appear in the Trentino area in the 13th century after being introduced from the neighbouring Venetian Republic.
Those in Val di Rabbi were built in the 18th century, with some remaining operational until the 1960s. National Park workers have meticulously restored the mills and they are now usable for demonstration purposes. A simple itinerary takes visitors over a flat area (also accessible to disabled persons) where they can admire the sawmill of the Braghje at Rabbi Fonti. From here an easy dirt track leads to the 18th century sawmill of the Bègoi, which stands on the banks of the Torrente Rabbiés.
In summer guided visit to the Venetian sawmills with the activation of the latter.
On request and for groups, the sawmill will be put in motion in the presence of a Park Guide (activity with fee).
Information at Stelvio National Park Office in Rabbi.