Arcangelo Battaglioni, born in Penne, fought as a private on the western front during World War I. in the surroundings of his barracks he noticed some stone quarries dedicated to the production of mill stones. The extracted stone, Miller Flint, was perfect for grinding, since it was neither too hard, nor too soft.
While Arcangelo was on the front, his family moved to Gualdo. His father and elder brother worked as contractors, and one of their ancestors was a lady miller; Arcangelo suggested to the family to start the ancient profession again. In 1923 His brother Giuseppe went to the same place where Arcangelo had fought and bought a full mill, which he paid 35,000 lira. The heavy parts of the mill were shipped to Gualdo by train.
The grindstones do not consist of a single block, but of four or five wedged in parts (called “quarters”) linked to each other by means of iron rings and of a special paste. The mill is also equipped with a wooden sifter with silk filters meant to sift the wheat and make it as white as possible. At that time, in fact, white wheat and bread were most loved.
The mill was installed in the very center of Gualdo, but the noise of the Diesel engine disturbed the citizens, so it was moved outside.
In the years 1923 to 1955 the three millstones worked round the clock, seven days a week, and produced 3 to 4 tons of wheat a day.
It suffered the competition of nearby mills, powered by water, but succeeded carrying on with its activity. Nowadays it is powered with electricity and is up to date with all related security rules. Enzo Battaglioni, its current owner, declares: «That special French stone enriches the taste of flour; still, in order to get the best flour the cereals must always be of high quality». As in past times, the mill still grinds ancient varieties of cereals: soft and hard wheat, spelt, rye and local corn, and produces semi-integral and integral wheat. It is worth remarking that a slow stone milling prevents the cereals from warming up and enables the production of refined wheat.
A curiosity: a 100 years old iron and wooden weighbridge, produced in Turin by the Fratelli Aimerito Firm, is still working in the mill. Every time he comes and checks it, the engineer from the Provincial Metric Department bows down with a gesture of respect.