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In rivers, the water you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes
So with present time.

Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci, Perpetual Motion Machines

Agliena Stream

The Agliena Stream (Torrente Agliena) flows between the hills of Barberino Val d'Elsa and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, and channels rainwater to the valley bottom. Downriver, the two branches merge into a single stream, which pursues its course toward the old town of Certaldo, and then flows into the Elsa river.

In the year 1000, shortly before the construction of the castle town Semifonte, an innovative hydraulic system was built on the stream. The project had several aims: to ensure the future city with a steady water supply, to enhance agricultural activity, and to avoid the hydrogeological instability of the hilly terrain. A complex network of 25 dikes was set up in the riverbed in order to regulate the speed of the current and to create small water reserves that could be used during the dry summer spells.

The system continued to function even after the destruction of Semifonte. In 1540, Leonardo da Vinci examined the Agliena Stream, and wrote "Methods for avoiding the erosion of the banks of rivers", a text that appears in the Codex Leicester (now the Codex Hammer). The Agliena Stream was operational until the end of the 18th century, at which point it gradually fell into disuse. In 1998, a restoration-conservation project developed by Paolo Caccetta won approval and financial support from the European Commission. As a result, the entire system has been refurbished and made to function again.