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Cotonificio Crespi d'Adda, Capriate San Gervasio

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A World Heritage site, the Crespi d'Adda cotton mill at Capriate San Gervasio is one of the most interesting examples of Italian worker villages. In 1871, Cristoforo Crespi built the first four buildings for workers after moving his cotton mill from Vigevano to Canonica (an area which was later merged with Capriate under the name Crespi d'Adda). Many alterations were later made to improve the surroundings of the mill. The cotton mill, the houses of the workers, the villa-castle belonging to the owner, the nursery school, elementary schools, theater, public washing facilities, hotel, clinic, food shops and church (in Bramantesco style built in 1891 inspired by the church of Santa Maria in Piazza Busto) remain almost unaltered to this day. The economic crisis and the Fascist fiscal policies finally forced the family to sell the village in 1929 but the complex remains a testimony to the paternalistic philosophy of private business from the last century.