The history of "Ciasa al Mornà"
From occupancy by the millers from Longiarù to chalet in the Dolomites
Before the advent of tourism, which today supports the families in Val Badia to a large extent, in the valleys an economy of sustenance prevailed. Despite the high altitude and the harsh climatic conditions almost at the limit of sustainability, the farmers in Longiarù cultivated rye, barley, oats, broad beans and potatoes already back in the 15th century.
From 1700, to turn the cereals into powder and flour they started to construct water mills. The mills are deeply rooted in the valley of Longiarù, which at one stage had more than 40 different types. The importance of these buildings can be witnessed in the local surnames and especially in the toponymy. In actual fact, Chalet Mornà's original building was called "Al Mornà" which in Ladin means "The millers" and the village where they emerged was called "Plan Morin" which means "plain of the mills."
The village name is derived from the past concentration of mechanisms which made use of the power of water. In addition to millers at "Al Mornà" Plan Morin was also home to a Venetian sawmill, threshing machines and the cooling machines of a forge as well as 3 other water-powered mills, all powered by the same flowing water.
The mills at Longiarù never operated as an autonomous productive entity, but were used solely to cover the needs of the individual farmers, or groups of farmers who owned them.
The "Al Mornà" house was an exception to the rule: It was the only mill which worked for third parties. Built in 1756 and finished in 1770, according to the frescoes still visible on the outside, the building was the only stone-built mill and the only one housing a dwelling. Whilst a majority of the mills were operated twice a year, primarily in autumn and spring when the machines ran uninterruptedly day and night, the house "Al Mornà" had an activity that was much more consistent, even if the trade of being a miller alone wasn't enough to sustain a family.
The method of construction of the mills and the trade of the millers have inevitably disappeared with the passing of time. The movement and sound of the heavy wooden wheels had to make way for the advent of the electric motor. But still the mills are testament to the farming culture and the history of Val Badia.
At Chalet Mornà we try to keep these memories alive.