Since our territory is rich in calcareous stones, there are many remains of kilns used for the baking of lime. These are simple and primitive buildings, made of an underground dry-stone wall in the shape of a cylinder with a tunnel at the base to stoke the fire. Inside the kiln, with carefully chosen stones, a sufficiently large dome was built to let the fire burn freely. The spare stones were placed above. The baking went on uninterrupted for many days and it was necessary to have a large quantity of fuel, usually faggots and branches, mainly what was left behind from logging. The lime (quicklime) was then sold and transported in clods. To use it, it was necessary to extinguish it with water. By doing this, the lime heats up and reaches a temperature of 300 degrees. The slaked lime could be stored for decades in holes. Mixed with sand, it was used as binding material in building works. It was also used for floors or to build partition walls, to whitewash and plaster, to disinfect vegetable gardens, hen-houses, and stables and to fight pests.
In the nineteenth century the production of lime was put up for auction by the patriciate. Remains of other kilns can be seen in Curölgia, and along the footpaths that go from Múrio to Cioásc and to Sass Gránde (Denti della Vecchia). The best-maintained kilns can be found in the wood on the "Monti di Cóla", in the territory of Villa Luganese.
The Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
Stage 1: Well and "Riaron"
Stage 2: House of Reason
Stage 3: Graad
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 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.