There are different kinds of them: from the simplest ones placed in the fireplace's flue, to more substantial ones built in the houses' lofts, which exploit the smoke and the heat of the house. There are also graads built separately: small buildings on two floors. The second floor was accessible through a small door. Here the chestnuts were placed on a grid on the floor. On the ground floor people lit a fire to produce smoke and heat. It was, therefore, important to choose the right fuel, usually chestnut tree wood, and to check daily the burning process. This had to go on for several weeks. The chestnuts were turned over several times during the week.
Usually this was a community activity that involved many families. Once dried, the chestnuts were put into bags and two or three men, with rhythm and regularity, beat these bags against a tree to remove the skins from the chestnuts. The women then used a winnowing fan (val), a special basket with two handles, to remove the chestnuts' skins. By grinding the dried chestnuts, a type of flour was obtained, called ur panisciö, used to prepare a soft polenta.
The Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
Stage 1: Well and "Riaron"
Stage 2: House of Reason
Stage 4: Cassinel
Stage 5: The mixed broadleaf woods
Stage 6: Geological oddities
Stage 7: Mill and bridge
Stage 8: The glade in the wood
Stage 9: The torrent Franscinone
Stage 10: Wash-house
Stage 11: The birds of the wood
Stage 12: The eroded valley of the Franscinone
Stage 12: Water and energy
Stage 13: The edge of the flood-level wood
Stage 14: Dairy farm for the processing of milk
Stage 15: Lime-kiln
Stage 16: The rural area
Stage 17: The Humid area of Canéed
Stage 18: The earth kiln for charcoal production
Stage 19: Terracing
Stage 20: Madonna d'Arla
Stage 21: The Chestnut Wood of Pian Piret
Stage 22: The Beechwood
Stage 23: The Boulder with Engraved Cupels
Stage 23: I Denti della Vecchia
Stage 24: R’Alborón
Stage 25: The Oratory of S. Martino
Stage 26: The old center of Sonvico
Stage 27: The Walnut Press
Stage 28: The Church of Saint John the Baptist
The Luganese Regional Bus Line covers the Lugano – Sonvico stretch; from Val Colla you can reach Sonvico, using the postal bus from Tesserete to Sonvico.