Handcraft on Lake Como

The richness of Lake Como is in its products and in the hands of crafters

The province of Como was one of the first industrialised areas in Italy. The history of the area in the production of silk and furniture is marked by three interesting museums in Como and Cantù.

The entire process by which silk is produced can be seen at the Museo Didattico della Seta in Como, the only museum in Europe that shows the whole cycle from farming the silkworms to final dyeing and printing. Another textile museum, the Museo Tessile della Fondazione Ratti, has records of over 4,000 samples of precious silks, velvets, brocades and damasks collected through the centuries from all over the world. The idea of transferring all this into a virtual museum represents the most modern way of displaying cloths that have grown delicate with age and which can be damaged just by exposure to the light. One can also visit the most famous silk manufacturers in the area and order personalised silk scarves and ties.

The kingdom of furniture is the area around Cantù. This is marked by the School of Art, which was founded in 1882, and the International Furniture Selection Competitions which, between 1955 and 1975, created opportunities for artisans and designers to come together. The juries included, among others, Alvar Alto, Arne Jacobsen, George Nelson, Giò Ponti, Ignazio Gardella, Marco Zanuso and Vico Magistretti.

Today the Galleria del Design e dell’Arredamento (Design and Furnishing) exhibits an interesting collection of design projects and prototypes, as well as the historic collection of the Premio Compasso d’Oro (Golden Compass Prize).

The processing of metals, especially iron, is perhaps the longest and more typical tradition of craft of the territory of Lecco. In the city, along river Gerenzone, there have been several production facilities which, troughout the centuries, have been committing the metal working process so to make the districts of Lecco as an open-air museum of work.

In the heart of the valleys of Lecco, especially in the town of Premana, the activity of metal working is still an important resource, especially for the production of knives and scissors, which are now famous and exported all over the world.

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