From plaited strands of silk this place, part museum and part laboratory, came into being. “Fal’Fil” is its name, a wink at a local tradition: in the bergamasco dialect this expression means “to make a strand of silk”. And just how they made this strand of silk one learns along the stone corridors and amidst the Liberty-style decorations of Palazzo Re at Ranzanico. This is a journey that takes you from history to artisanal art, starting with the culture of silk cocoons, and finishing with how they created this splendid and precious material.
Entering the ground and first floors of this neo-classical country residence, and following a set route with stops along the way, one learns how silk is made. Objects on display include original machinery from the 19th century.
A collection of photographs from the era reveals the context within which this highly artisanal activity was carried out, while a display area shows us examples of the finished objects: extremely prestigious spun silk and fabrics, which in their day were exported from the Val Cavallina to Italy and abroad.
Part of the patrimony of the Fa’l Fil museum is also its collection of silk cocoons from every corner of the world, a curiosity salvaged before it would have been lost forever when a company in the Val Cavallina closed for good.
After learning about how silk is made and then walking on through the rooms of Palazzo Re, one comes to a section recounting the artisanal and industrial history of the valley, its people and environment. Playing a leading role in this was the mulberry tree, the cultivation of which was fundamental for the entire silk-making industry. Silk cocoons have an insatiable appetite for the leaves of this plant, which constitutes their main diet.
A 19th century palace, curated and promoted by the association Arte in Valle.
Admission is free for accompanied visits during the local Library opening hours and preferably by appointment. There are a few promotional openings during the year, organised by the Associazione “Arte in Valle” (the Art in the Valley Association).
Guided visits for groups can be arranged during the week too by booking in advance, but require payment.