Cascina Torchiera

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Cascina Torchiera is a historic 'cascina a corte' (farmhouse) of Milan, Italy, dating back to the first half of the 14th century.[1] It is located in Zone 8, adjacent to the Maggiore cemetery, in the Musocco/Garegnano district,[2][3] and qualifies as one of the oldest surviving cascine within the city boundaries.[3] The cascina is formally the property of the Comune di Milano city administration, but has been a squatted autonomous social centre since the 1990s.


The cascina has undergone several transformations over the centuries. The original building dates back to the 14th century; at the time, it was located in the middle of a large rural area. The name "torchiera" may be a reference to an olive press ("torchio" in Italian) or the manufacturing of hemp rope ("torcitura"). The Mailänder Kataster (an 18th-century cadastre of Milan), reports cultivations of barley and mulberry in the land that surrounded the cascina.[3]

Historically a property of the clergy of the nearby Garegnano Charterhouse, the cascina and the surrounding land (including the Maggiore cemetery) were ceded to the Comune di Milano in 1888.[1][3] Part of the building was demolished to create a large open space at the entrance of the cemetery; as a consequence, the cascina is now L-shaped, having lost the original square-yarded structure that is typical of cascine.[3] After becoming a property of the Comune, the cascina was adapted for diverse uses such as craft workshops, small shops, and a local seat of the Italian Socialist Party;[1][3] nevertheless, it was never properly maintained and restored. Eventually there was structural subsidence and a large portion of the roof collapsed.

Social centre[edit]

In 1992, the cascina was occupied and turned into an "anti-fascist, anti-racist and anti-authoritarian" squatted social centre, known as Cascina Autogestita Torchiera SenzAcqua.[3] The center remains active, despite sporadic attempts by Milan's administration to dismantle it or to sell the property.[2] In fact, the "SenzAcqua" ("WithoutWater") word in the name is a reference to the fact that, in one such attempt, the city shut down the water supply to the cascina, a situation that persists today.[1][4]

Volunteers from the social centre have been restoring the building since 1994. Social activities in the cascina include theatrical representations, musical events, and Italian language classes for foreigners.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d (in Italian) Breve storia della Cascina Torchiera
  2. ^ a b (in Italian) In vendita gli immobili del comune
  3. ^ a b c d e f g (in Italian) Alberto di Monte, Torchiera e Merlata: due cascine milanesi nell'Expo della postmodernità, pp. 27-39
  4. ^ Cognetti, Francesca; Cottino, Paolo (2010). "Developers of a different city: New forms of community in laissez faire Milan". City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action. 7 (2): 227–235. doi:10.1080/13604870320001366787.
  5. ^ (in Italian) Libertari cazzuola alla mano

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°30′17″N 9°07′21″E / 45.5048°N 9.1224°E / 45.5048; 9.1224