Yesterday, we visited the Museo didattico della Seta di Como. Primarily since the 1800s Como has been at the centre of the region’s and later the centre of Italy’s silk production. Silk from Como is currently well known all over the world for its quality.
When at the end of the 20th century many factories were standing idle and were destined to be dismantled the idea was born to rescue as much of the machinery as possbile to be able to preserve Como’s industrial heritage and to be able to study it too. The educational silk museum was opened on October 4th in 1990.
The museum is located to the south of Como’s old town in the basement of new building of Setifico, the National Technical Institute of Silk Production. A school, set up in the second half of the 1800s to stimulate the development of the Como Silk industry. The entrance of the museum is very unassuming, but don’t let that put you of!
After paying the entrance fee (10 euros for adults, discounts for seniors and students) we received a brief introduction, in English, of the layout of the museum and receive an English guidebook with more about the background of the various machines and the production process. You are allowed to tour the museum at your own pace and there is also a video about the production process and an interactive display about silkworms (both also in English). All of the signage in the display cabinets and next to the machines is in both Italian and English too.
When we visited none of the machines were in operation but I believe that they are all restored so they can be operated. The museum is very much a research centre as well as visitor atraction.
I have taken many photographs in the museum and I will show you a selection to give you an impression of what you can expect to see when you visit.
Besides the main exhibition featuring the machines and details about silk cloth and thread production there is also a space for temporary exhibitions. This time they had an exhibition to tie in with the Lights festival in Como.
The museum shops sell books about silk production and Como’s industrial heritage (unfortunately most of them just in Italian, as well as silk scarves, tie and small pieces of fabric. The also sell some spools of silk thread in a few main colours and the silk cocoons.
If you are staying in or near Como, a visit to this museum should be on your list of things to do!