Marketing Quality Rural Tourism
LEADER I and tourism: some examples
The San Roman Mill Ecological and Heritage Museum (La Rioja)
document type: case study
keywords: tourism, environment
source: LEADER technical dossier
The La Rioja LEADER area spans the Sierra de los Cameros,
a mountain range with seven relatively landlocked valleys.
The group is committed to a strategy for the development of
rural tourism based on the laying out of a network of paths
linking up the valleys. The majority of them have at least
one tourist attraction: a pyrite mine which is the only one
of its kind in Europe, dinosaur prints, vulture sanctuary,
etc. but the Leza valley needed some kind of attraction
centre. The decision has thus been taken to renovate a 18th
century water mill and turn it into an environmental
In December 1992, the Rural Foundation of the Caja Rioja
(savings bank), a partner in the local action group,
purchased the site. In January 1993, the major building work
began. LEADER funds have been used to re-fit the
The ground floor consists of the mill itself. It is home
to the machinery, manufactured in Munich in 1928 and still in
The upper floor has been transformed into a "water
museum". The promoters have moreover been inspired by
the Paris Museum of Water, although obviously not on the same
scale. In addition to teaching resources explaining the role
of water in traditional local society and as an energy
source, the museum part has a transparent floor so that
visitors are able to watch the millstones turning.
A nearby building includes six bedrooms as stop-off
accommodation for walkers.
The mill will also act as a sales point for local
products (crafts, cheeses and cooked meats).
In a second phase, the creation of an educational farm
and of an "ecological" camp-site are planned.
The San Roman ecological museum began operations in the
summer 1993. It must be self-financing. In addition to
charging for the rooms (1,500 pesetas per person), visitors
are charged an entrance fee of 200 pesetas. The promoters are
hoping for around 15,000 visitors per year.
The project has created two full-time jobs.
Group name: LEADER La Rioja (ES23)
Project type: ecological museum
Total cost: 382,000 ECU
National: 28,400 ECU
Regional (Comunidad Autonoma):150,000 ECU
Private: 78,600 ECU
LEADER I: 125,000 ECU