Surraunded in the lush natural piedmontese landscape of Pordenone, the former “Antonio Pitter” hydroelectric plant is a splendid example of early twentieth century industrial architecture. Inside it is possible to see the turbines, the alternators, the machinery and the original finds, perfectly preserved, that tell the extraordinary technological adventure that has transformed the Cellina torrent into an energetic source.
At the end of the nineteenth century the Chief Engineer of the Royal Office of Civil Engineers Aristide Zenari, during an inspection to create the road to connect the countries of the Cellina valley to the plain, had the revolutionary intuition for that period to exploit the waters del Torrente Cellina to produce hydroelectric energy.
The construction of the Malnisio hydroelectric plant began in March 1900, under the direction of the engineer Zenari for the hydraulic and civil part, and of the engineer Antonio Pitter from which it takes its name, for the electromechanical part. More than two thousand workers worked for five years on this project, which involved the installation of four “Francis” turbines coupled to their alternators. The current generated at 4,000 volts would then be high with two transformers up to 30,000 volts.
The power station went into operation in May 1905 and it was thanks to it that it was possible to turn on public lighting in Venice, including the splendid Piazza San Marco. The plant continued to operate uninterruptedly until 1988, when it was definitively closed.
The entire architectural complex of the Central is spread over more than 5,000 square meters, inserted in a system of green spaces and gardens of over 7,200 square meters, to which are added the 1,500 square meters of the drainage tank.
... and the future
Given the industrial archaeological value of the Central building, ENEL, owner of the plant, thought of turning it into a museum. Subsequently, the Administration of Montereale Valcellina, having acquired the building, creates the museum “Centrale Malnisio Nuovo Centro”. The goal of this center, inaugurated in June 2006, is to preserve the machinery and documents of a glorious past, using them as a tool for scientific dissemination in the energy and environment sectors.