The “Cittadella della Seta” (Citadel of Silk) is an area characterized by the presence of some architectural testimonies linked to the Bernasconi Silk Industry, which was founded here.
Approximately between Via Aquileia and the Breggia stream on the border with Como.
Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the engineer Davide Bernasconi founded his silk industry in Cernobbio and, as an "enlightened" entrepreneur, commissioned the construction of a real industrial citadel.
In the area there were two residential villas, Villa Bernasconi and the villa that now houses the Town Hall, where the entrepreneur and then his son Leopoldo lived; around these two villas developed all the other buildings of the industrial district, known as the “Workers' Neighborhood of San Giuseppe”, located between Via V Giornate and Via Regina, up to the Nisciolano district, on the border with Como.
At the crossroads between Via Regina and Via V Giornate there was a public weighing house; right at the entrance of the latter, after “Davide Bernasconi” Kindergarten, opened for the workers’ children, on the left there is the so-called "Casone", consisting of apartments for the workers, who also occupied the building that can be seen in Via Privata Bernasconi. Also in Via V Giornate, on the left, a shed, once part of the factories, is still visible.
Around Villa Bernasconi there are the buildings that once housed the administrative management, which was necessary due to the exponential growth of the Industries that counted seven production units in the provinces of Como, Varese, Sondrio and Milan. Continuing in the direction of Como, there is the hamlet of Nisciolano, also urbanized during the period of industrial development and which probably owes its name to the presence of numerous hazelnut trees in the area. Here there was the Nisciolano Cooperative, center of social life. Another curiosity is given by the presence in the Industrial City of an artificial canal, called "Roggia Molinara", useful to move the many wheels of the mills for the production of flour that later became driving forces for industrial plants.
From the end of the 1800 to the 1950, the Citadel has been a world apart from the touristic Cernobbio but contributed in the same way to the growth of the town. Today the area is an interesting site of textile industrial archeology, the only one in the Como area.
At the end of the 19th century the workers employed at the Bernasconi’s Industry were about 800. Among the productions there were for example fabrics for umbrellas and precious silks exported all over the world.
In 1902 was also founded the Allamel dyehouse and later another one by Bernasconi.
In this period of economic growth, the City worked to carry out some modernizations: from the provision of gas and telephone line to the opening of a post office and, with the intervention of Bernasconi, a municipal kindergarten and a school of home economics and design, until the realization of a tramway line that connected Cernobbio with the city to Como. The Bernasconi Industries were then forced to close in the '70s, due to the strong economic crisis, but Cernobbio continued, thanks to the birth of new companies, to carry on its economy mainly in the textile, mechanical and service sectors.