Silk of Lake Como

By Vacanze Lago • on June 19, 2013

The city of Como is not just a tourist mecca but also an important center of the country’s silk and not event the Chinese who have always been among the largest producers have failed to imitate Como’s silk fabrics.

Silk Lake Como

The story of the golden thread started a long time ago. Silk production began in the Como area around. 1400, mainly thanks to Duke Ludovico Sforza who imposed mulberry tree cultivation to the farmers. This initiative gave him the title of Ludovico il Moro, which comes from the name of the mulberry plant, which in Latin is “bombix mori” and in Como’s dialect “murun”.

Once the worm has stopped growing, it begins to produce a very thin thread in which it wraps itself, creating the cocoon that will turn into butterfly. he last part of the process must be stopped in order to unwind the cocoon and obtain a single thread of about 1500 meters that will be joined with other strings to obtain the right strength. From this moment onwards the transformation of the silk into a fabric begins.

In the nineteenth century the scarf was the largest exported item in Lombardy. Not long after diseases and pests put a stop to production, but the inhabitants began to buy raw silk from the Far East and specialized in the process of production: they soon become skilled textile designers and many dyeing and printing factories rose.

Today the district of Como covers 70% of the European production of silk. 50% of the fabrics produced on Lake Como is exported directly, while 20-25% of the production is purchased by Italian garment from them and then exported under the form of finished product. The scarf which is the only finished product that comes from the Como area, has a percentage of export sales of 75-80%.

Most of the companies in the Como area are small, but although they are traditional local buisnisses they invest continously and are open to technological change, like no other district in Italy. It ‘s a tradition open to the future, able to add new value with a deep knowledge of the rules of the market.

The main country of destination is France, home of luxury. The second is Spain , unfortunately in decline for a long time, and Germany that in 2012 showed rather positive and promising results. Exports are fixed in the United States, while acquiring increasingly importance are China and Hong Kong on one side and Russia on the other, a country that is always in search of a new luxury and more valuable fabrics.

The social and economic importance of silk in Como , is demonstrated by several interesting museums that allow you to learn about this valuable product and the various phases of production, such as the Educational Silk Museum that collects, preserves ad exhibits evidence of Como textile manufacturing tradition with machines, objects, documents, samples and tools from the textile processes that qualify Como city of silk .

The technical and artistic heritage is arranged in an educational space accessible to all.

Leave a Comment