The place set up for drying chestnuts was the gradile, a small two-storey stone rural building that could be found in the woods or in one of the many local villages, well isolated from the other houses in the town. On the top floor, chestnuts were placed on racks that allowed the smoke from the fire lit on the lower floor to dry the fruits, removing moisture that would have compromised their conservation.
In this period, the gradile became a meeting point for family who spent several hours here because the fire had to burn at the right temperature, neither too high nor too low, in order to produce the right amount of smoke. They passed the time by entertaining themselves through the night with vigils where tales, stories and legends from popular tradition were told and passed on. Young girls also received their suitors in the gradile and, if they were not to one's liking, very damp wood was placed on the fire to increase the smoke and "invite" the guest to go out.