With the sole aim of helping the poor, the ‘food mission’ was the core driving force behind running the farmlands and watercourses of the old Luoghi Pii Elemosinieri, or almoners’ charity houses. Over the centuries, these charity establishments steadily acquired land, thanks to donations and bequests and also to the attentive purchasing policy of the principal charity houses, such as Misericordia, Quattro Marie and Loreto (Mercy, Four Marys and Loreto).
At the end of the eighteenth century, all the Luoghi Pii Elemosinieri (almoners’ charity houses) combined owned more than 67000 perches of land, the equivalent of approximately 4400 hectares. Numerous properties exceeded 1000 perches, such as Novate, Pozzolo Martesana, Nesporedo, Zunico, Faino, Villarossa, Cascina Decima, Calvignasco, Badile and Tavernasco, which belonged to the Consorzio della Misericordia, or Mercy Group; Nova e uniti, Arluno e uniti and Vimodrone, owned by the Luogo Pio di Loreto, or Loreto charity house; Bellinzago, Limido, Caleppio, Pedriano, Casa di Dio and Montano, properties of the Luogo Pio delle Quattro Marie, or Four Marys charity house; Toriggio and Casolate of the Luogo Pio Melzi, Melzi charity house; and Trognano belonging to the Luogo Pio della Divinità, or Divinity charity house.
Our programme of mini tours in the countryside around Milan will take you to several farms belonging to the Organisation, where you can taste local genuine products. Other culturally interesting sights are indicated along the proposed routes, some of which are by car and others by bicycle.