"Todo se inició cuando dos capitanes de la industria, Cristoforo Crespi y su hijo Silvio, quisieron fundar al borde del río Adda un pueblo obrero ideal, un feudo pequeño donde el castillo del patrón fuese un símbolo de la autoridad y del bien para los trabajadores y sus familias."
El pueblo de Crespi d'Adda es sin duda alguna el testimonio italiano más importante del fenómeno de los pueblos obreros: Ha constituido una de las realizaciones más completas y originales del mundo y se ha conservado perfectamente en su totalidad - manteniendo intacto su aspecto urbano y arquitectónico.
Crespi d'Adda, es el modelo auténtico de ciudad ideal, un interesante y casi perfecto microcosmo autosuficiente, donde la vida de los empleados junto a la de sus familiares y a la de la comunidad entera, giraba alrededor de la fábrica en un ambiente ideal de orden y armonía. Una ciudad-jardín a medida del hombre, al confín entre el mundo rural y el mundo industrial.
Crespi d'Adda: ¿Realidad o metáfora? Sea lo que fuese, ha constituido un símbolo importante del progreso industrial, tanto en la vida como en lo social, cuyas soluciones representan un modelo de referencia precioso incluso en nuestros días.
La fábrica y el pueblo se realizaron entre los ochocientos y los novecientos por la familia Crespi, industriales del algodón, cuando en Italia estaba naciendo la industria moderna.
Era la época de los grandes e iluminados capitanes de la industria, al mismo tiempo patrones y filántropos, inspirados en una doctrina social que les veía ocupados en tutelar la vida de los propios trabajadores dentro y fuera de la fábrica, colmando los retrasos de la legislación social en el mismo estado.
La idea era dar a todos los empleados una villa con jardín y huerto, todos los servicios necesarios para una vida en comunidad: iglesia, escuela, hospital, centro social ,teatro, baños públicos... Este experimento paternalista creado en el 1878 al borde del río Adda, tuvo su culminación a finales de los años veinte, con la salida de sus protagonistas y las mutaciones del siglo XX.
Hoy una gran parte de la comunidad que acoge el pueblo de Crespi, es descendiente de los obreros que han vivido o trabajado en ella, la misma fábrica que ha estado en funcionamiento hasta el 2003, siempre en el sector textil.
The environment that surrounds Crespi d'Adda is unique: the village is situated in a cradle, a triangle shaped lowland, which is delimited by the intersection of two rivers to the South and by a difference in level of the ground to the North, called "Fossato Bergamasco".
The two rivers are: the Adda and the Brembo, and they form a peninsula called "Isola Bergamasca" (the village is located at the very end of the peninsula). The "Fossato Bergamasco" represented in former times the border between the Duchy of Milan and the Republic of Venice.
The geographical isolation is also accentuated by the fact that the village is connected to the outside only from the North. Today these geographical features and the seclusion they implied help us understand why Crespi d'Adda could preserve so extraordinary, hidden and distant from the chaotic development of the surrounding area.
The urban layout of the village is extraordinary. The factory is situated along the river, next to the castle of the Crespi family.
The workers' houses, of English inspiration, are lined up in order along parallel roads to the East of the factory, and to the South there is a group of enchanting villas for clerks and directors. The houses of the physician and the priest overlook the village from a hill, while the church and the school are placed side by side facing the factory.
The presence and the importance of the factory are emphasised by its high chimneys and its sheds that are repeated in a fascinating perspective along the main street. The street itself is also a metaphor of workers' life and it runs between the factory and the village, arriving finally at the cemetery.
In Crespi d'Adda there's a wide range of styles, varying from classicismo to romanticismo.
The castle is a reproduction of the medieval style, while the church is the exact copy of the church of S.Maria, of renaissance style, in Busto Arsizio, where the Crespi family was born. All the other constructions are of neo-medieval style, decorated with precious brick ornaments - typical of romanticismo lombardo - and wrought iron finishes. The factory itself is neo-medieval the highest celebration of the industry is expressed by the main entrance, with its magnificent office direction buildings.
The cemetery, of exotic taste and eclectic style, is a national monument and it is characterised by the Crespi chapel - a decorated tower-pyramid made of ceppo and cement, which rises to embrace the workers' graves: small crosses disposed in order in the meadow.
CRISTOFORO BENIGNO CRESPI:
Born in 1833, he was the first son of Antonio Crespi, descending from a family of textile producers from Busto Arsizio. Originally he helped his father with the trading of dyed fabrics, but then founded with his family the cotton mills of Vaprio, Vigevano e Ghemme. In 1878 he founded the factory in Crespi d'Adda, introducing the most modern spinning, weaving and finishing processes.
In 1884 he moved to Milan, in his house in Borgonuovo street, where he opened the headquarters of his company. He also kept a vast and widely admired collection of paintings.
|In 1904 he built the hydro-electric power station of Trezzo sull'Adda. He was awarded several honours, which included "Cavaliere del Lavoro" and "Commendatore della Corona d'Italia". He died in Milan in 1920.
SILVIO BENIGNO CRESPI:
Son of Cristoforo, he was born in Milan in 1868. He got his degree in law at the age of 21 and spent some years in England in order to follow the developments of cotton production. In 1889 he started working in his father's factory where he became director.
With a tenacious and tireless character, he occupied himself with numerous activities, ranging from industrial to the political and financial sectors. He published and authored a study on preventing the injuries at work. He was the first president of the Cotton Producers association and member of Consiglio Superiore dell'Industria e del Commercio. He was president of Banca Commerciale Italiana and of the Italian Automobile Club.
He was deputy and senator for the Catholic Liberals and within the Parliament he promoted industry and commerce, with a special concern for workers conditions. He was appointed Ministry Plenipotentiary at the end of the First World War. He died in Cadorago in 1944.