The industrial archaeological heritage of the “alto Vicentino “ area (High Vicentino)


The origin of the name “Schio” appears to derive from "ischi" - a kind of oak - "Ascledum" in the Neolithic word of the time.

Of further interest is the name given to the inhabitants, “scledensi”, which derives from the same root “scledum”.

The city of Schio is known for being the capital of the national textile industry around the 1870s; so much so, as to earn the title of “The Manchester of Italy”.

Thanks to the daring and visionary personality of the entrepreneur Alessandro Rossi, the “civitas” was constituted (that is, a socio-cultural model based on a kind of "paternalistic" capitalism), and Schio became one of the major productive poles in Europe.

The inhabited center has been in the process of ongoing structuring since Roman, and above all, medieval times, at the outskirts of the picturesque Val Leogra.

It is surrounded by a magnificent mountainous amphitheater, known as le Piccole Dolomiti Venete“ (the Little Dolomites of Venetia)

The abundance of water in the area has favored the birth and development of multiple productive activities through a canalization system.

The most glorious page of the industrial revolution of the town of Schio and its district, which had already distinguished itself in silk production, is undoubtedly marked by the Lanificio Rossi chapter, which is a crucial reference point, not only in terms of the historical reach and impact of innovations introduced over time in wool processing technologies, but also in building modules and styles of plants linked to the various associated energy sources.

Lanificio Fossi was founded by Francesco Rossi (father of Alexander), in 1817.

But it was Alessandro Rossi who made his father's wool factory grow, bringing it to the point of becoming the largest wool company in the world at that time, as well as further promoting the development in Schio of other wool and collateral activities (production of shuttles, mechanical industry, etc.).

Rossi, a man of exceptional talent and culture, made a decisive contribution to making Schio an extraordinary industrial and urban pole.

Firstly, he was responsible for a modern and pioneering textile industry, placing the interests of the worker at the center of production.

He financed the construction of a large number of institutions for the workers of his factory, which then became the benchmark model for other entrepreneurs of the time.

He also modified the urban planning of the city, with the construction of new dwellings for the workers “il Nuovo quartiere operaio” (the New worker quarters), new social structures (such as kindergartens for workers, schools, a theater, gardens, etc.), also intervening in the refurbishment of buildings, churches and squares.

He commissioned a statue to “The Textile Worker”, the first monument in Italy dedicated to workers.

Furthermore, he promoted and financed the construction of railway connections, never-the -less now discarded.

Among the most important dismantled plants still present in Schio worth mentioning, and which testify to its industrial past, are Lanificio Conte and Cazzalo, the plant named after Francesco Rossi, with the adjacent “Fabbrica Alta” (High Factory) built in 1862 by the same Alessandro; this, in particular, has become a symbol of national industrial archeological constructions, built according to the North European industrial architectural model.

Alessandro Rossi (Schio 1819 - Santorso 1898) is the most significant and disruptive exponent of the Italian industrialists of the nineteenth century: a deputy, senator of the Kingdom , expert in agrarian problems, publicist, and a sharp interlocutor in the national political and economic context.

Frequent attendance of the avant-garde cultural environments of time, the work experience he gained in the various sectors of his father's textile industry, confrontation with the most advanced production technologies in countries such as England, Belgium and Germany, made it possible for Alessandro evolve and transform his industrial efforts into a serious capitalist enterprise of European reach.


Valdagno extends around the Agno River, from which it derives its name.

Its territory expands along the valley of the same name, extending into the surrounding hills; “le Piccole Dolomiti” (the Little Dolomites) and the “Alti Lessini” (High Lessini)

The presence of the Agno influenced both the origins and the development of the city for which it is named, provided water for the inhabitants, and gave rise to industrial activities, especially in the textile sector.

Valdagno became a separate muinicipality in 1291, and after the first “scaligera” (Scala) and then Visconti domination, became part the Republic of Venice in 1404.

This age saw a period of flourishing of craftsmanship (working in iron and wool production), which contributed to consolidating its fragile economy, which was then linked to agro-foresterial-pastoral activity.

In 1700, the earliest factories for wool and silk appeared.

The Marzotto family started the wool industry in 1836; carrying it forward from craft industries to the size of a modern, large enterprise.

In particular, the work of Gaetano Marzotto (1894-1972)is worth mentioning. This entrepreneur, in addition to industrial activity, promoted various interventions in the social sector (housing for workers, sports and recreational facilities, the "Stadio dei Fiori" (?), a kindergarten for infancy , a retirement home for the elderly, and schools) - interventions which were inspired both by architectural and functional criteria.


Luigi Marzotto founded a small wool weaving mill at Valdagno, a village located at the bottom of a valley, not far from the capital city of Vicenza.

He was suceeded by his son Gaetano, and the company Marzotto reached the count of employing two hundred workers; eighty of whom manned machines and hand-weaving frames. The Third War of Independence then liberated the Veneto and allowed it to be annexed to Italy.


Vittorio Emanuele began the construction of the spinning plant in Maglio, a hamlet of Valdagno, which distinguished itelf by producing combed yarn, while in the rest of the Italian wool industry the standard was carded yarn.


Marzotto continued to produce results; investing, innovating and expanding its technology, even as the Wall Street crisis collapsed the world economy.


1st DAY

10H00 - 12H30 Arrival at Valdagno and visit the MUSEUM OF TEXTILE MACHINES

The Museum of Textile Machines ( il Museo delle Macchine Tessili) has been set up in a part of the Spinning,Industrial Engineering Institute "V.E. Marzotto" (Istituto Tecnico Industriale V.E Marzotto”) , the headquaters which was built in 1936 by Count Gaetano Marzotto within the "social city" (città sociale).

A short tour of the city with a guide - transfer to Schio.

12h30 - 13h30 Arrival at Schio. Lunch

13h30 – 15h30 Guided tour of the archaeological-industrial heritage spread over the “ Scledense area”

We will trace the tracks of the most significant stages of the industrial, urban and social plan by Alessandro Rossi, pioneer of Italian industrialization.The precious inheritance and imprint of his work are so well preserved, so as to make this territory a unique example within the entire national arena.

The tour starts from Lanificio Conte * to proceed to the nearby Lanificio Francesco Rossi with the adjacent “Fabbrica Alta” (High Factory), the latter an eloquent sign of the European dimension assumed by Lanificio Rossi.

Facing the establishment you can admire the Jacquard Garden.

Below you can see the “Asilo Rossi” (a kindergarten erected to accommodate the workers' children.

We then move onto “il Nuovo Quartiere Operaio” (the New Workers' Quarter) with different types of housing.

The route ends with an observation of “il Teatro Civico” (the Civic Theater ), “La Chiesa Di Sant' Abate” (the Church of Sant'Antonio Abate) and “il Monumeto al Tessitore” (the Monument to the Textile Worker) in Piazza Rossi.

Lanificio Conte ... a 250-year long industrial thread.

Located in the historic center of Schio, it is crossed by the Roggia Maestra (an artifical canal).

Within the exhibition space, inaugurated in 2007 for the 250th anniversary of its founding, the centuries-old company history of the mill is recalled with references to national and European industrialization.

Some machines through which the fabric production cycle occured in its essential phases are on display.


Transfer from Schio to Santorso, where you will visit the outside of Villa Rossi and the historic park.

Visit of Saccardo Factory

17H30 - 20H00

The Villa

The urban layout of the villa and farm of Alessandro Rossi in Santorso, now under the joint ownership of the municipalities of Schio and Santorso, constitutes a singular episode in the history of the Venetian architecture of the second half of the eighteenth century. It was the outcome of the collaboration between the scledum industrial power of Alessandro Rossi and the architect Vicente Antonio Caregaro Negrin .By 1862, Alessandro Rossi had begun the expansion of his textile company which would see its greatest development between 1870 and 1880, with the creation of the workers' quarters of Schio and Piovene-Rocchette.On March 28, 1865, Rossi purchased the ancient “villa Bonifacio-Velo di Santorso” from the Prosdocimi family, with the annexed chapel of “Santo Spirito”, and most of the surrounding land, to make it into an oasis of peace for his family, and to create a "Podere Model " with the most advanced agricultural production systems. To successfully implement the vast complex of the villa and farm model, the architect Antonio Caregaro Negrin remained engaged for about twenty years (1865-1884), deploying his eclectic design language in original architectural features.

“Il Parco Della Villa di Alessandro Rossi” (The Villa Park of Alessandro Rossi) is a site of remarkable naturalistic value and "green architecture", considered amongst one of the the most beautiful in Italy.

“Il Splendido Giardino Romantico” (The Splendid Romantic Garden), with paths rich in careful, rich architectural features, and botanical reflections, lend this place a refined touch and sense harmony.

“Fabbrica Saccardo” (Saccardo Factory) was conceived at the end of the 19th century by the imagination and inspiration of Giuseppe Saccardo.

Originally based in Schio's old town, it was moved to Tretto Road, following a fire that had destroyed the first establishment.

The idea from which it was born was very simple: in the era of the Industrial Revolution, which was seeing enormous growth in the textile sector, especially in Veneto, the demand for shuttles and components for the industrial machines subject to heavy wear had increased.


The renovation covered the top floor of the upper factory body of the Saccardo Factory complex for a total area of about 2000 square meters, which has been transformed into spaces destined for various uses: on the one hand they have been converted into places of work for professional studios (architects, photographers, artists, dancers), on the other hand, the environment can be utilised as the location for events (from private parties to art exhibitions).

The desire was to recover the environments by faithfully reflecting the intentions of the existing structure, with the aim to best exploit the spaces, while trying to adapt them to meet all the modern needs associated with the use of spaces themselves, and attempting to make the environment flexible when considered in terms of the different uses anticipated.

17H30 – 20H00 Transfer to Hotel, dinner in a restaurant in the area restaurant, overnight stay.


08H30 – 10H00 Breakfast at the hotel and departure for a visit to the museum of silk and brickwork in Malo

10h00 - 11h00 Transfer to Breganze to visit the ancient Tamiello hut. *(?)
12h00 - 15h00 Transfer to Lugo di Vicenza for lunch and visit to the “Villa Godi Malinverni “
15h00 - 16h00 Transfer to Zugliano and visit to the Zanin Distillery located in a former silk factory.


Participation fee: € 250,000

The price includes transfer by private coach, escort, first and second day lunch, first day dinner, entrance and guided tour of the “Museo delle Macchine Tessile” (Museum of Textile Machines), Schio town guide, entrance and guided tour of the “Museo della Serica and Laterizia” ( Silk and Brickwork Museum), a guided tour of the “Antico Maglio”, entry and guided tour of the “Villa Godi Malinverni”, and tasting at the Zanin grapperia.
Anything not mentioned above (tips, personal extras, entrance fees if not programmed) is excluded from the package fee.

Minimum number of participants: 15

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