The term ‘territorial policy’ that we use in this section is strongly linked to all public or privateinitiatives and tools that pursue the objectives mentioned above. We focus on electric power generating plants and their educational, tourist and culturalvalue-added. This means that the files that describe each of the power stations will include its planning authorities and resources, which vary widely from plant to plant. As for the authorities, in some cases there are public players such as municipal or provincial administrations, and in other cases it is associations of volunteers and private citizens who examining the development projects for power plants in due observance of the law and in accordance with the requirements of the competent public bodies.

Different ways of generating power, various political leanings

There are four hydroelectric power plants (Grosio, Roncovalgrande, Trezzo on the Adda, and Vigevano). Two others (Ostiglia and Tavazzano) are thermal plants. The final two are related by their highly specialised and innovative technology (the Milan-Bicocca fuel cell-powered plant and Brescia’s waste incinerator).
  • Without doubt, the policy for developing the educational, tourist and cultural values isfocused on the hydroelectric power plants. This may be due to several factors. Firstly, this type of power plant obviously presupposes the presence of a river. In the three cases described – Grosio, Trezzo on the Adda and Vigevano – there are major rivers like the Adda or the Ticino rivers which cross valleys of great importance, (the Valtellina, for example). Thanks to the creation of regional and national parks, these areas have been protected for many years. Many development policies for power plants situated in areas like these may therefore stem from the initiatives of the management companies that run these parks. In addition, some of these plants were designed at the beginning of 19th century by the most famous architects of the day, or have been incorporated in a context of industrial archaeology that hasanundoubted historical value. Roncoval Grande is a particular case amongst the hydroelectric power stations. This plant is newer than the other plants mentioned above, and is situated in a rather isolated zone on the Lombardy side of Lake Maggiore, on the Swiss border. A number of rather diversified initiatives, carried out by Enel in agreement with the local authorities, have allowed the plant to become a cultural and meeting place for the local community and visitors.
  • Issues concerning the thermal power plants aremore complex. For many years they have been using polluting substances for producing their power, and this has awakened concerns and negative attitudes on the part of public administrations and local communities. So it is not a good moment to mention developing the value-added of these plants. During the past few years, the thermal power plants have been modernized and thus have very much reduced their negative ecological impact. Moreover, the nationalised companies carried out a number of initiatives designed to improve ‘transparency’ towards the outside world, and to improve their relations with local communities. These measures range from opening the power plants to the public as far as obtaining ecological certificates to show their compliance with European Union regulations. It is important to note that there is still much to do here: the public sector and civil society still harbour a defensive attitude towards these projects, and suspect that some information is still concealed.
  • Finally, we are going to examine two highly innovatory power plants. Even though the Milan-Bicocca fuel cell-powered plant has designed by the great architect Vittorio Gregotti, and is situated in a highly dynamic area, it is not at the moment the subject of any particular initiative to develop its educational, tourist or cultural aspects. The Milan-Biccoca University has taken some steps in this direction, though these projects are still at an early stage. On the other hand, the Brescia waste incinerator plant presents a particular issue that is worth highlighting. As has already happened in the past, thermal power stations have often aroused ecological concerns. In Brescia, the plant’s management has adopted a defined attitude of collaboration and transparencytowards the local community, which has led to a considerable reduction in conflicts that could have ended up in court. Instead, the plant, having opened itself to public, has now become quite a popular ‘tourist spot’: now other public administrations and private association representatives want to assess the feasibility and impact of building similar plants on their territories.

The layout of territorial policy files

The above general comments seek to provide understanding on how the explanatory files on territorial policy have been set up. These files consist of:

  • An introductory note giving the history and architectural description and main characteristics of the generating plant;
  • A ‘geographic’ description that seeks to identify the general ecological elements that are important for territorial policy planning in connection with each specific plant;
  • A note on the likely presence in the surroundings of this plant of any restrictions that are important from a historical, cultural or ecological point of view (for example, an industrial archaeology system strongly linked to the plant’s presence). These restrictions contribute to place the power plant in a context of wider interest, and therefore connecting to the territorial policy for developing the power station;
  • A section dedicated to territorial policy that pays particular attention to any existing policies that might exist on the educational, tourist or cultural value-added of power plants.
In a few cases either the ‘geographic’ sections or the sections regarding ‘presence’ have been left out. This does not necessarily mean that this information is not interesting from the historical, tourist, landscape or ecological points of view; however it might indicate that these elements have not been considered important in the development policy for these power plants for the reasons mentioned above.


Taccani’s hydroelectric power plant is at the center of numerous initiatives of didactic, tourist and cultural valorization. Beyond a significant architectonic value , the plant is placed in a rich industrial archaeology context, developed mostly between the end of XIXth and the beginning of XXth century along the Adda river. Great part of the plant’s valorization initiatives was presented by the North Adda Park management body.

Historical Notes

Taccani’s hydroelectric power plant is located in Trezzo, on the Adda river, at the foot of Visconti’s castle western escarpment. The plant was built up around 1906 for the manufacturer Cristoforo Benigno Crespi will, the owner of an omonym textile factory in Crespi d’Adda, few kilometers southward the river. The project was entrusted to architect Gaetano Moretti who worked in close collaboration with engineer Adolph Corvi, in charge of technical side . The alliance between engineering and architecture is characteristic for the first years of XXth century when a belief was strong that the industrial buildings, positive signs of progress, had to be ennobled by an accurate stydying of forms. Crespi requested the plant’s insertion in the river landscape in order to avoide excessive visual effect. That’s why, the structure in concrete was completely covered with stone extracted from the river. The numerous openings; the thick indentations of the facade and of external ornament; the embattled crowning recalling the shapes of above-situated castle echo a variety of eclectic forms and allow to minimize the building’s showy volumes and to insert them in the surroundings’ chiaroscuro.

Between the end of XIXth and the beginning of the last century the exploitation of the river’s hydric power called forth the deep territorial, economic, productive and social transformation of the area . To the first spinning, paper and flour mills joined more and more complex plants, infrastructures and industrial villages. Between Brivio and Rivolta of Adda, were constructed other seven hydroelectric power plants , all opened between 1895 and 1928.

Today the power plant and its numerous vestiges of industrial archaeology along that stretch of Adda together with the natural patrimony of river and surrounding territory is the target of environmental,landscape and tourist valorization initiatives of the area, protected by creation of the Adda North Park.

"Geography" and territory: the river

This area has an indissoluble bond with the river. Adda was always an important communication route between the upper and lower Lombard plain; and for many years also a natural border between the Duchy of Milan and Republic of Venice. There are numerous vestiges of fortifications constructed for the river area defence.

One of them, the Viscontis’ castle of Trezzo of Adda, as says the legend, was built up by Teodolinda, a Queen of Lombardy. 90 kilometers of navigable canals with their 25 locks crossed the territory of Milan between 1457 and 1475. Among them, the Martesana canal , wished by Francesco Sforza to connect the river to Milan,. The canal was realized only after 1574, under Ludovic the Moor reign. Leonard da Vinci in 1482 studied improvements to this canals’ network. In the middle of 16th century the Engineer Meda found how to overcome more than 23 meters of Paderno’s rapids rise. He devised the "Basin of Castello" which became the Paderno’s Canal under the rule of Maria Teresa of Austria. Between 1887 and 1889 was realized one of the symbols of Italian engineering: the iron bridge "San Michele" that connects Paderno and Calusco d’Adda. The river plays in these years a leading role in the industrialization process. In this period started to arise spinning, flour and paper mills. They used the force of water to move the machinery and thus rid the region of the foreign coal consumption. From 1895 until 1928 between Brivio and Rivolta d’ Adda arose eight hydroelectric power plants. Nowadays, these industrial archaeology vestiges and great naturalistic value of the river make this zone an important target of landscape and environment safeguard.


Between Brivio and Rivolta of Adda, eight hydroelectric power plants were constructed between 1895 and 1928. The most important among them, after the Taccani power plant, are the Bertini plant in Porto d’Adda, inaugurated in 1898; and the Esterle power plant in Cornate d'Adda, opened in 1910. Both are characterized by their monumental neo-renaissance style.

The Paderno’s iron bridge, with its 266 meters of lights and two-level (railroad and highroad) structure, is one of the symbols of engineering progress of the end of XIXth century. To testify an economic and industrial progress of the Lombard society during the last century, can be cited the Velvis Velvets Plant of Vaprio; the Cassano National Linen and Hemp mill; and the Molinazzo and Abegg spinning factories of Garlate and Brivio. A particular case represents instead the Crespi’s cotton mill, constructed on the banks of Adda river in 1877. Beside the factory, on the initiative of Cristoforo Benigno Crespi, arose in 1890 an homonymous “ideal industrial villagge". In this village the phylantropy, paternalism and reformist ideology of predominant Anglo-Saxon inspiration correlated with economic interest for a control of the labour. Crespi d’Adda was organized according to a rigid hierarchy. The factory was located at the city center and a road was separating the working places from the residences and leisure infrastructures. The houses, ( large-family houses for workers , mono and bi-family town houses for clerks and even the Crespi’s villa-castle) were settled in function of their relevance, most prestigious were located farer from the factory. The disposition of graves on the village’s cemetery and their decreasing monumentality mirrored the hierarchies as well. In 1995 UNESCO recognized the village as "Patrimony of humanity".

Tourist and cultural valorization policies and projects

The main initiatives of the area protection and valorization born from creation of the North Adda Park and of relevant Territorial Coordination Plan (TCP). The Park has been instituted in 1983 by the Region of Lombardy and is managed by a consortium of 32 Communes and Provinces of Bergamo, Lecco and Milan. The protected area comprises Adda’s territories along a stretch, which crosses the plain downhill from the Lecco Lake until Truccazzano, for more than 50 kilometers. The Park’s management body joints to the most traditional naturalistic and ecological protection projects a number of safeguard, conservation and valorization initiatives of important industrial archaeology vestiges. Also can be mentionned a tourist itineraries project along the Adda and equipping of varied sports infrastructures: cycle and walking tracks; climbing practice walls; and several runs . Five Park study centers offer information points and panels, classrooms, libraries, didactic farm as well as the congress and exhibition centre.

The park’s TCP clauses have been immediately integrated into the The General Regulatory Plan (PRG) of involved Communes and replaced the unlike clauses of the Province of Milan Territorial Coordination Plan (TPCP) that had included the aforesaid area within the "Martesana-Adda" territory. The TPCP provides for the development of cycle and walking tracks between the historic monuments and green spaces; and at least two important projects: rehabilitation of disused flax and hemp mill in Cassano d'Adda and valorization of the Leonardesque Adda’s landscape. In the frame of the first project is under consideration the realisation of a Technopark (technology, production and research centre) and a Museum of Energy and Water. These initiatives are integrated in the so-called "Vie d'acqua viventi" project (Ways of Living Waters), approved in 1998 by the European Commission within the Structural Funds program "Earth" and aimed to create an international research and experimentation network for the development and recovery of peripheral watercourses in Europe.

ENEL included the Trezzo power plant in its project "Open Plant" started in 2002: 30 Italian power stations, representative of different electric power productions (hydroelectric, thermal, wind, geothermal) are open to public.

Bibliography and websites:

- AA.VV., Archeologia industriale in Lombardia,
Edited by Mediocredito Regionale Lombardo, Milano, 1981
- Grandi M., Pracchi A. (1980),
Milano, guida all'architettura moderna,
Zanichelli, Milano.
- Provincia di Bergamo (2002),
Aree protette in Provincia di Bergamo.
- Provincia di Milano (2003),
Le schede del Piano Territoriale di Coordinamento Provinciale. L'ambito Adda-Martesana.


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