A solitary windmill emerges from Orbetello’s lagoon, in Tuscany. It is the so-called Spanish Windmill, an untamed stone Don Quixote that guards the town.
Up until a few centuries ago, there used to be nine of these mills. They had been built in the 15th century by the people of Siena, who were lords of the city between the 1400s and the mid-1500s.
They were all aligned, and used the energy of water – flowing back and forth in the pond every six hours – to mill grain. Wheat flour, on which the people and soldiers of Orbetello depended for their life, was then transported to dry land on typical small boats called “barchini”.
Then, in 1557, the Kingdom of Naples took control over the region and by order of Philip II the Spanish created the State of Presides, making Orbetello its capital. The mills were renovated, strengthened, and converted with new sails that could exploit the Mistral and Sirocco winds.
Time has spared only one of the nine buildings. Like a stubborn Don Quixote, that solitary windmill continues to safeguard the lagoon.