The tradition of weaving in Valtellina dates back to the early to the 18th century, as evident both from public and private documents, and has been one of the main sources of employment for most of the villagers.

It mainly involved processing hemp and silk, the latter was initially a monopoly of Giovanni Fumasi while in 1781 cultivation of mulberry trees had spread among the inhabitants of Sondrio and there were some silk mills along the Mallero.

During the period of the Cisalpine Republic mulberry growing was almost completely abandoned and only a few mills remained in Morbegno and Chiavenna.

Later mulberry cultivation took over again, so much so that the Sondrio’s flats were filled by the trees taking on a unique look characterized by checkerboard-like intersecting rows.

From the Austrian rule forward silk spinning constantly increased and in mid-1800 in Sondrio Valperta and Rossi mills competed in magnitude.

During this period there were 24 mills for the weaving of silk, working about 110.000 kg of cocoons. The mills were distributed in Chiavenna, Chiuro, Delebio, Grosotto, Ponte in Valtellina, Sondrio, Talamona, Tirano and Morbegno.

In the early 1900s only a few factories for the production of silk remained in Delebio, Dubino Talamona Morbegno, the latter with spinning machines for the plots and organzines and an establishment for weaving.

In the years prior to 1930, in the province of Sondrio mulberry cultivation was still extensive, especially in the medium and low Valtellina and Chiavennese, sericulture had so a few opportunities for development.

Later, despite attempts to relaunch the practice promoted by the fascist regime as an incentive for “family farms” but a collapse of the price of cocoons and plant diseases led to an exhaustion of the secular silkworm cultivation tradition.


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