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El Barchett


El Barchett is one of those typical institutions of the Milan area. In the second half of the 18th century the ferry service el Barchett de Boffalora was a convenient means of transport between Milan, Abbiategrasso and Magenta. From 1777 onward it was managed by Giuseppe Castiglioni and Partners, boatmen from Boffalora, who organised such an efficient service that it was in use up until 1913, the year in which the policy of Giolittian modernisation led to its closure. The Barchett operated all year round and employed three people, two on board and one on land, whose job it was to drive the horses who towed the barge from the bank. Then there was the fairytale figure of the “Torototela” a singer-storyteller who played an odd instrument made out of a piece of string pulled taut over a scraped-out pumpkin that acted as a sound box. It was he who collected the ticket money from the passengers. An icon of how Milan once was, the Barchett was also mentioned in literature and in the theatre. It is described by Paolo Valera in his book “Gli scamiciati” in 1879 and the four-act play called “El Barchett de Boffalora” written by Cletto Arrighi, the Milanese poet of the Scapigliatura school. A reconstruction of the Barchett made by the association La Piarda is anchored near the bridge.

Boffalora Sopra Ticino