Como, the world capital of silk. A community of entrepreneurs, artists, skilled workers, designers, artisans. A widespread, authentic silky culture, proud of its know-how, its refinement, its ability to transmit skills and professionalism to the new generations. The reference point for all the most important fashion houses and leading cloth manufacturers.
The historical origins of silk processing in Como date back to the sixteenth century, but it is above all with the industrialization in the second half of the nineteenth centuries in Lombardy that the Larian City achieved European leadership of the production and export of silk and precious fabrics.
The history of silk interestingly began with smuggling. For many centuries the Chinese protected their secret silkworm and producing, however, in the sixth century silkworms were smuggled out of China in bamboo canes. After silk production spread into Europe, in the 18th century Como became Italy’s largest silk producer.
“The Silkworm is a snob! He’ll eat anything, but he will only produce silk if he eats Mulburry”
The reason that Como became the heart of silk production is believed to be twofold; first there was an ample water supply from Lake Como and the nearby northern Alpine streams and second, mulberry farming thrived in the Po River Valley to the south.
The ‘culture of beauty’ as Guido Tettamanti calls it, may have something to do with Como’s success all as well; a fine fabric demands an exquisite landscape and the sweeping Swiss peaks and sparkling Lake Como provide these pleasing backdrops to aestheticists around the world.
After WWII Silkworm breeding died down but the industry is still thriving in Italy and Como, which imports the silkworms from China before the silk is woven. Today, Como provides high quality silk for the fashion houses of Milan, Paris and New York.