On Saturday 30 October, at the Santa Maria della Scala, Carlo Vigni - The Powder Industry will open to the public, a temporary photographic exhibition that through a selection of shots will allow the visitor to enter one of the most discussed industrial architectures of the past century. Traditionally known as the 'Tower of tomatoes' of Isola d'Arbia, the former Idit plant (Isola Tressa Dehydration Industry) represents in all respects an example of industrial archeology, but if this definition does not find bureaucratic and aesthetic obstacles in other Italian realities, for 'the eco-monster of Val d'Arbia' the awards are mixed. At the gates of the Val d'Orcia, a Unesco World Heritage Site and inserted within a landscape that symbolizes Tuscany in the world, the iron, glass and concrete silos, more than seventy meters high, stands in the center of the Via Francigena and leaves observe from any vantage point south of Siena. Representation of a great dream of economic recovery, the Idit Tower, today is part of the collective imagination of an Italy in recovery, ready to invest and with a far-sightedness that can challenge, sacrificing the most rooted and secular peasant culture of the Sienese countryside. , even those who did not look favorably on industrial development in a territory so far from the great entrepreneurship of northern Italy. The construction began in 1959 and, in record time for the time, it was inaugurated in 1961. Only two years of real activity were in which Idit produced fruit and vegetable powders through a dehydration process at 33 °, but due to a probable design defect, it immediately became impossible to economically support the production which ended definitively in 1966.
After fifty-five years, if on the one hand the industrial structure is now part of the landscape heritage of southern Tuscany, on the other there are doubts about the need for conservation and maintenance of an increasingly less stable and safe architectural skeleton. For years abandoned and in a state of decay, in fact, the former Idit keeps intact the concrete part, the one that stands out like a tower in the Sienese hills, but is literally collapsing in all the other parts that made up its real environment. 'vital', the one where people worked and should have worked for many years according to the expectations of the time. Belonging to a private company, at the moment, there are no renovation and enhancement projects, but not even for the demolition and restoration of the area and that is why the photographic works of Carlo Vigni, exhibited until January 31 at the Santa Maria della Scala, can be a way to reopen a debate around that 'Tower of tomatoes' which, for better or for worse, is now part of the visual heritage of every inhabitant of the southern province of Siena and of millions of visitors who cross the Via Francigena every year.