Ancient “Montano” oil mill of Costacciaro
An olive oil named “oleum herbaceum” is already mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his “Naturalisa Historia”, produced in the Eugubine area in Roman times and sold along the Flaminia Road. With regard to olive tree cultivation to produce such oil, Pliny the Elder mentions, indeed, the Eugubines. A “herbaceum”, possibly a plantation of such “oleum herbaceum” may have existed until modern age near the “Pass of Scheggia”, around 632m above sea level. According to reliable oral recounts, the culture of olive trees must have been promoted by the Montefeltro, Dukes of Urbino, in the fifteenth century.
The largest and oldest oil mill in this area is located in Costacciaro, on the hill where olive trees were once intensively cultivated. Most likely dating back to the seventeenth/eighteenth century, it was named the “Montano” since the origin. This term could hypothetically originate from the Latin “molendinus”, meaning mill, in the following way: "molendinus", "*molendanus", "molentanus", "*moltanus" until "montano". In the early 900’s, the Montano was owned by Mr.Carlo Bartoletti from Costacciaro.
The Montano of Costacciaro, today owned by the local municipality, is perfectly preserved and worked until the 60’s. It consists of a grinding machine for crushing and pressing the olives and a huge beam of oak wood, where an enormous counterweight in stone is anchored (second class lever). The old oil mill of Costacciaro is still provided with its original structures: The donkey-powered grinder, a large counterweight press, an olive press and a small wooden screw press, some cutting dies, a “caldaro” for a single donkey (1.50) and a small well.
On the beam are still visible the rods used to measure the quantity of olive oil arrived or obtained from the crushed olives, while a drawer of the Montano keeps a notebook used for sketches and entries, with records showing revenues and results of the mill.