System of water mills and adduction channels

All mills are located on the river or ravine, the catchment can be several hundred meters distant.
Breil’s mills are located in the village or neaby, fed by Roya river or Lavina river (tributary).
Libre and Piène’s mills are located on the ravine of Ravaï or
Riou’s, or along the Roya river.

Period Various

Accessibility No

Visitable Yes

The Mediterranean climate has favored the cultivation of the olive tree on the town territory. The water resources of the Roya river and some valleys have allowed the installation of water mills on the one hand to grind the olives (oil), and on the other hand to grind the grains (flour).

The impeller powered by channeled water was driving the mechanics of the different machines.

The vertical wheels turned in the “tracks”, vats in which the olives were poured to grind. The press where the “scourtins” (circular bags made of braided fiber) were stacked filled with the olive pulp was driven by the same energy.

Some mills had a flour room equipped with millstones and sieves.

A Coupéra mill, located in the north of the village, includes two rooms equipped for oil and for flour. It has been converted into a museum.

Conditions of visit

1. A Coupéra mill: periodic opening to the public (weekends in the summer) Parking of the monument to the dead north of the village on the right bank.
2. Cachiardi Mill: restricted visits (customers only) Place Brancion, adjoining the north of the village church.
3. Libre mill: restricted access (private property), but the inside is visible from the doorway located on the path. Trail starting from lane n ° 4 of RD 90 road towards Libre.
4. Ravaï Mill: restricted access, private property. Visible from RD 6204 road south of Piène-Basse, Ravaï bridge.


Additional information


  • Botton Charles, Histoire de Breil et des Breillois, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1996.
  • Iperti Luigi, Histoire de Piène-Haute et Libre, de Barba Gè, des Iperti et Ipert à Penna, Olivetta, Ravaï et Libre, Edizioni REI, 2014.
  • Botton Charles, Breil : Histoire du moulin de la Gravera, Magazine Le Haut-Pays n°45, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1999.
  • Luigi Iperti, Les familles Iperti et Ipert, Magazine Le Haut-Pays n°75, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 2009.