History of silk and its link with the Como Lake District | Aquadulza Learning
The origin of Como Lake silk district
The birth of silk
Did you know that the first processing of silk dates back to ancient times?
Already in 3000 B.C. this elegant yarn captured the attention of Chinese nobles who were fascinated by its lightness and softness. Silk is the slime that the silkworm uses to build its own protection in view of the transformation from silkworm to butterfly. Through a particular process it is possible to obtain from the cocoon a yarn (up to 1000mt long!) with characteristics of lightness and softness.
The art of working this "golden yarn" was kept hidden as long as possible, but with the advent of international trade and the first exchanges on the famous silk road, even the nobles of the Western world fell in love with this fabric. Once they discovered the "secrets" of its production, the first cultivations of mulberry trees, the only source of food for silkworms, began to appear in Europe as well: at first in some areas of southern Italy such as Sicily and Calabria, then in the 14th century also in Lombardy especially in the area of Lake Como.
The arrival of silk in Italy
The Venetian merchants, who continuously traveled to the East, came back with precious fabrics that captured the interest of noble families looking for more and more refined clothes (we can already imagine duchesses and countesses of the time with our Aquadulza scarves).
The Sforza and Visconti families, the royals of various areas in Northern Italy at the time, fell in love with it to such an extent that Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Ludovico's brother and predecessor, issued an edict obliging them to plant rows of mulberry trees in all fields and to start silkworm cultivation to encourage the growth of silk production.
The imposing work of planting mulberry trees (or mulberries) for silkworm breeding, earned Ludovico Sforza the nickname "Moro". It is no coincidence that the mulberry plant is also called "Moròn" in the Lombard dialect, just like the nobleman of the Sforza family.
The excellence of the Como Lake silk district
Obviously, it took several decades before silk production reached a quantity worthy of industrial processing, but over the centuries, the entire yarn processing chain became established in the Lake Como region. Production, washing, warping, coloring and of course packaging and selling of fabrics and finished products; all these processes developed in the Como area during the years making it one of the most important silk districts in the world for the following centuries.
During the two world wars the production of cocoons was practically reduced to zero. Due to increasing overbuilding and higher management costs, competition with developing countries slowly eroded the Italian advantage. In spite of this, the Como textile industry has preserved the main stages of fabric processing and is still considered the best in the world in the production of Jacquard fabric, in the quality and precision of printing and colors. In Como, many luxury fashion brands choose the new designs and fabrics to propose in their collections. In particular, the entire textile industry of Como has become unique in the world for its mix of high-tech and creative content.
The future of silk in the Lake Como area
The increase in the price of raw yarn, which today arrives almost exclusively from China, has also relaunched the idea of a return of the mulberry tree to Lombardy and the breeding of silkworms, thus reactivating Italian production of the raw material. There are already several associations that take over the entire transformation phase of the silkworms following methods that are sustainable and not harmful to the animals themselves.
In a historical period, which is more and more attentive to the environmental impact of the whole process, bringing back a sustainable production of silk in the Como district is a very important objective, however, its complexity requires more efforts and time.
The fine silk fashion accessories of the Aquadulza brand fully represent the history and craftsmanship developed over the decades by the Como textile companies. Furthermore, with its packaging made with 100% recycled paper, it already pays great attention to environmental and social issues.
Aquadulza is not just a brand ... it is the exclusive thrill of wearing a snapshot linked to Lake Como and its textile district.
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