Tour 14 - Premana: iron industry and its dealing

One of the most sound handicraft of the Lario lake area, originated by an ancient tradition connected to iron working, is the production of scissors and knives.
Thanks to this activity the inhabitants of Premana became famous outside their territory, only during the 18th century the most part of the metallurgical production of the Austrian part of Lombardy came from here.
The boost of the production was in the 20’s, it was helped by the arrive of electricity, in this way about every house became an establishment and the importance of Premana in the production of scissors and blades crossed the national borders.
Certainly, this high production was favoured by the enormous disposal of iron and water, indeed the only Alta Val Varrone furnished siderite which was exploited from the pre-Romanic period to the half of 19th century. This disposal of resources, the position of the valley, between its peak and the col of Piazzo, an important communication route between Valtellina and the plain in Lombardy are the reasons why this town has become an important iron and steel and productive centre.
Although the iron mines have been closed for more than 100 years and the country is not easily reachable because of the tortuous road that connects it with the bottom of the valley, still today and everyday fully iron loaded trucks arrive there to load scissors and blades that will be sold all over the world. On the national territory these products cover 50% of the demand.
The old village of Premana is quite interesting; there are not easy and ordinate houses, but one building. It has a double function: rural and traditional. Anyway, there is an intricate network of parallel streets crossed by alleyways and steep stairs.
The Civic Ethnographical Museum is very interesting for the preservation and valorisation of traditions. This museum concerns mainly the iron working, but there are also other testimonies of the local culture.
Descending the valley there are other villages that are involved in the activities of Premana and that are interesting for tourism like Pagnona and Tremenico.
Moreover going down toward Dervio there are some villages interesting under the rural architectural aspect like Sueglio, Introzzo and Vestreno. It should be reminded that this route (from Premana to Pagnona, through Tremenico to Dervio) is the same built during the Great War for military needs and it has not being changed except for the tarring of the roadway.