THE FACTORY

 

THE COTTON MILL IN ROE’

In 1882 Pietro Pozzi, the Busto Arsizio- based entrepreneur and the Swiss-born Alfredo Streiff establish the company “Cotonificio Bresciano Pozzi, Streiff & C”. After less than two years the factory is taken over by the Swiss group Hefti. In 1890 there are 230 worrkers employed in the site. In 1907 the company is part of the strong group De Angeli and in 1923 the number of the people emplyed increases up to 600. In this period the company builds the first houses for the textile workers along with the kindergarten, public lavatories, the dormitory, the theatre and the refectory.

In the second postwar period the company is taken over by the Cotonificio Cantoni e dalla Bastogi. It is in this period that the slow but progressive decline of the mill starts: from 2,250 people employed in 1951 down to 1,177 in 1953. The site will be finally closed in the autumn 1958.

 

THE COTTON MILL IN VILLANUOVA

The plant begins its activity in 1883 thanks to the Sala & Ottolini company created by the Ottolini family who are active in the cotton business and the Swiss investors Arturo Sala, Ezio and Pirro Galli. The mill is enlarged in 1889 and in 1897 there are over 400 workers.

In 1903 the company operates under the name of CBO and the number of the shareholders increases mostrly coming from the cotton business in Lombardy and Switzerland but also from local investors. In 1907, 806 people are employed in the production site: 405 are women and 191 are girls below 14 years of age. During the period 1945-1975 a new course is taken in the business activity especially regarding production and technology and as a consequence the number of the employees gradually shrinks from 1,000 in 1950 to 450. in 1983. After 110 years of uninterrupted activity the mill closes in July 1992.

 

THE WOOL MILL IN GAVARDO

The ‘’ Società Lanificio di Gavardo ‘’ was established in Milan on June 27th 1889. Among their shareholders there are entrepreneurs from Switzerland and the Milan area. The activity of the factory begins on March 27th 1891 with 160 employees operating the 6.000 spindles in the spinning department in addition to the dyeing section.

In 1901 there are 512 people employed while the mill further grows under the direction of the Swiss-born Ernesto Luthy. In this period the Italian press describes the mill in Gavardo as the “largest of its kind in Italy “.

In 1960 the company reaches its peaks in terms of people employed ( 1,223) However in 1977, after a severe crisis, the number of workers falls down to 240 and the factory is taken over by “Filatura di Grignasco” (changing its name to Grignasco Garda) and is eventually closed soon afterwards.

 

THE RAILWAY REZZATO - VOBARNO

The railway Rezzato – Vobarno, planned by the civil engineer Giuliano Corniani, is the only italian railway section (in concession) financed entirely by private investors. The railway is officialy opened on December 6th 1897. At the beginning four daily runs are scheduled all of them operated by freight and passenger trains. Three steam engines are used to ensure a good service: Italia, Caffaro and Valle Sabbia. The administratiom of the railway is transferred to the Brescia Province in 1910 and subsequently to TEB which adds also the tramway line. In 1963 the administration of the train traffic is handed over to Falck which exploits the railway until 1967.
 

THE IRONWORKS IN VOBARNO

The company “Ferriera di Vobarno” is established in 1871 following the work and dedication of Giuseppe Ferrari. The site is soon described as the “Terni Lombarda”. In 1881, 16% of the national production is produced on the site where some 350 workers are employed. In 1906 the ownership of the plant is transferred to “Società Acciaierie e Ferriere Lombarde Falck”. After World War One the plant is still the most important of its kind in Lombardy and in 1931 1,400 workers are employed. The site is equipped with four cauldrons and the yearly output amounts to 50.0000 tons of iron. The company build houses for the workers, back up a mutual aid society, a company store, a theatrical company and a football club. In the postwar period,after the years of the economic boom, the production site experiences a slow but relentless decline with a substantial decrease in the production. The plant is eventually closed in the last decade of the XX century.
 

WRITERS

Eugenio Bertuetti (1895-1964)

He was a talented writer and playwright,as well as an art critic and a successful journalist. Born in Sopraponte di Gavardo, he managed the Turin based newspaper “Gazzetta del Popolo” from 1939 to 1943 and the “Radiocorriere” from 1953 to 1960. In the period between World War One and Two he is a member of the board of directors of the ‘Reale Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti (Royal Academy of fine arts).

During those years he is bestowed the title of Commendatore della Corona d’Italia. In addition to his distinguished essays as theatrical critic. it is worth mentioning his various plays that he writes for the radio and his articles for “Corriere della Sera” and “Epoca” . With the short novel “Non scherzare signorina” he won the much coveted literary prize Saint Vincent along with Italo Calvino and Dino Buzzati.



Arnaldo Baruzzi

Arnaldo Baruzzi was born in Gavardo where he worked for the local branch office of “Società Elettrica”. Particularly endowed as a writer, he published several editorials about the river Chiese and its banks on the daily “Il Popolo di Brescia” in 1943. He subsequently focussed his interest on the life of the inventor of the violin Antonio Stradivari and his works have been published in Germany and Great Britain.



Vittorino Ravasio (1907-1982)

He begins his career at the age of fifteen when he is employed in the Cotonificio Bresciano Ottolini and where he soon finds his way as a valued manager. In this period he writes a few monographs on technical subjects. He has a real gift for writing and he publishes a few collections of poems and works with regards to his own community. In the course of his literary career he won around 100 prizes, and recognitions, and he distinguished himself in various literary contests. It is worth mentioning the Termoli prize for poetry (1977) and the second prize for fiction at Tolentino (1977).



Giuseppe Solitro (1855-1950)

Giuseppe Solitro first attends the University in Padova and subsequently in Bologna where he completes his studies. After a period of teaching experiences in the Veneto region, Solitro is given a post as a teacher of literature at the ‘Scuola tecnica di Salò and he becomes president of the local Academy. He composed dozens of works on historical subjects with particolar regards to the Brescia territory and the nearby lake Garda. He also wrote on the Italian Risorgimento in addition to essays of literary criticism  His huge works “Benaco” (1987) was reprinted several times along with his volume “The Lake Garda” commissioned by the Bergamo- based Istituto italiano di arti grafiche (1904).



Lorenzo Gigli (1889-1971)

Writer, journalist and author of many works. His thesis on the Italian novel will be published by Zanichelli under the title “The Italian novel from Manzoni to D’Annunzio”. After moving to Turin, he is appointed director of the weekly  ”Illustrazione del Popolo”. He will be in charge of this magazine for 15 years up to 1943. Among his works it is worth mentioning his various essays on the Italian and French literatures, his translations for the most importatnt publishers in Italy and his theatrical plays.

Lorenzo Gigli was also President of the Centro Studi Alfieriani. He received the “Premio Presidente della Repubblica” in 1970 and was appointed Cavaliere della Corona d’Italia in 1932. Finally he was a member of the Brescia Academy from 1932.