The town of Montalvan, in Arragon, is ventilated in a very simple manner. It stands in a deep valley, surrounded with mountains, and is exposed to excessive heat. Much wine is made in the neighbourhood, and every house has its cellar underneath, dug to a great and unusual depth, because of the hot situation. Every cellar has its vent hole to the street, and from each of them a stream of cold air continually issues out,
52 53mountains they dig great cellars and grottos, and strike a hole about a foot square, ten or twelve feet into the hill, which all the summer long blows a fresh air into the cellar, so that the wine in those cellars drinks almost as cold as if it were in ice. But this wind-pipe did not blow when I was there, which was toward the end of September; for the sun opening the pores of the earth and rarifying the exterior air, that which is compressed within the cavities that are in the mountains, rushes out with a constant wind; but when the operation of the sun is weakened, this course of the air is less sensible. Before, or over those vaults they build little pleasant houses like summer houses, and in them they go to collation generally at night, in summer.”
Letters from Switzerland and Italy,
Edit. 1087.— p. 76.