Castano Primo, history and tourism

Castano Primo is a town nestled in the Ticino’s Park, in Lombardy. It has almost 12.000 inhabitants and it is located less than 40 km from Milan.
The first news of the town date back to the Gallic period, but the oldest document concerning Castano Primo is dated 712 AD. In 1300 Castano already could boast the title of village (borgo), as an indication of its territorial importance. In the sixteenth century it became a Viscounts of Brignano’s fief, in the 1700s it was assigned to don Antonio Nuno de Portugal conde de la Puebla and later to other Lords.
In 1836, The suffix "Primo" (the first) was added by royal decree of the King Victor Emmanuel II, to distinguish Castano from other less important towns of the same names.
The importance of Castano Primo grew during the nineteenth century thanks to the advent of electrical energy (1814), the excavation of the Villoresi Canal, the opening of the railway line (1887), the commissioning of the tramway line (called “Gamba de Legn) to reach Milan and the development of a flourishing textile, engineering, construction and craft industry.
Between the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, finally, there was a remarkable urban development.
In 1984, by decree of the President of the Republic, Castano Primo was awarded the title of “Città” (City)

The town offers several opportunities in terms of and cultural, sports and natural entertainment.
The Museo Civico (Municipal Museum) hosts the Gaetano Previati’s masterpiece: the canvases of the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) (1852-1920). Previati was a leading exponent of the Italian Divisionism. In 1888 he was commissioned his only cycle of frescoes (precisely the Via Crucis). A porch of the cemetery was purposely built to hold this work. In the Museo Civico in Corio Street, the strappo (conservative detachment removal) of the frescoes, done in 1969 to avoid the final deterioration of the painting work, is guarded. In the porch at the cemetery the painted traces of the original frescoes are still visible.
In the same building of the Museo Civico, there is the East Ticino Consorrtium (river) and Villoresi’s (canal) Museo Emeroteca delle Acque (Museum and newspaper Archieve) displaying historical documents related to the construction of  Villoresi and Milanese Canals (Navigli).
Villa Rusconi, the town hall, is an historical building from the 15th Century.  It reached its peak when Giuseppe Rusconi, a textile industrial, bought it in 1923. Nowadays, besides being the seat of the town hall, it has been chosen as location for several events organized by FAI – Fondo per l’Ambiente italiano.

Walking across the old town, you can follow the so-called “route of Manzoni”: some historical houses, indeed, are linked to Alessandro Manzoni in Castano Primo. Main examples are the elegant residence belonged to Giulia Beccaria (the writer’s mother), Enrico Acerbi’s houses (Manzoni family’s doctor) and Bernardino Corio’s mansion (feudal lord and one of the most infamous bandit in the 17th Century) who might have inspired the famous character of the Innominato (the Unnamed) in the novel I Promessi Sposi (“The Betrothed”)    

The Centro Polivalente di Produzione Culturale Auditorium “A. Paccagnini” has a great importance because it’ s a point of reference in the area. It’ s dedicated to the Master Angelo Paccagnini, father of electronic music, University teacher, Director of the RAI phonological lab. Inside, some musical instruments and musical scores and also drawings belonged to the artist  are preserved . Today, the Auditorium Paccagnini hosts a dance, a theatre and a music school.

Thanks to its location within the Parco del Ticino (Ticino River Park) Sports tourism has been encouraged, boosting in the las decade. It is not unusual to find runners, people who are fond of Nordic walking or mountain bike, as well as families who decide to spend a day in the outdoors, exploiting the several cycle-pedestrian paths along the Villoresi Canal towpaths, the Ticino River banks and the Park trails.


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