The Podere la Contessa is historically part of the ancient complex called “La Torricella”, that devoleped throughout the centuries close to a tower that because of its strategic position, controlled the passegeway on the “Lombardia” road that connected Tuscany to North Italy.
During the 1400’s, the fortress was transformed in a villa, and the building on top, where the B&B is now, was the farm where the food supplies were produced for the noble residence.
Throughout the centuries there were various owners including the Leonetti family in the 1800’s built a mill with a nice neoclassical façade that is still visible.
It seems that it was in this building that the rag reusing procedure for producing new raw material that made Prato world famous was discovered and tested.
Let’s read what Enrico Bruzzi wrote in 1920 about the new “macchina stracciatrice” (rag tearing machine) that allowed that was used to obtain regenerated wool from rags using a water fraying system by means of revolving cylinders coated with metal tips, first put in use by Benjamin Law from Britain : “...the Pratesi wool manufactures , seeing progress in manufacturing, that was well suited for their needs, couldn’t wait to know the great secret and make it their own. In a separate room, but still in the building of the Torricella, a certain T.C. had his spinning plant there; who was able to see, in not a commendable way, by penetrating his neighbour’s factory at night time ,the famous machine. Needless to say that after C. was equipped with the machine the water fraying secret wasn’t much of a secret anymore.”