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Paths, woods, water and fountains
Merone, as we know it today, came into being in 1928 when King Victor Emmanuel III unified the municipalities of Merone, Moiana and the hamlet of Pontenuovo di Erba.
That same year also marked a turning point for the local economy with the opening of the cement works (Società-Fabbrica di Cemento Portland Montandon & C., since 1941 Cementeria di Merone). The changes it brought about were, indeed, nothing less than epochal: until the end of the nineteenth century, even after the opening of the silk factories, the area had mostly been agricultural. The silk industry had developed hand-in-glove with agriculture, with local silk farms supplying raw materials to the factories. Silk aside, farming largely meant the cultivation of wheat, rye and vines.
By the 1800s, levee-building had brought the Lambro - so long a source of interrupted communications and flood-induced crop damage - under control, harnessing its power to develop industry: before long, its flow was driving mills, trip hammers, presses and spinning wheels. Flour mills sprang up along its banks (ten in Merone alone), along with several spinning mills (the first was the Isaaco) and dyeworks. The Cementeria di Merone, though, had little need of the Lambro as its business was largely based on the extraction of the locally abundant marl and limestone. This explains why the plant was based away from the developing riverside areas and, to ensure efficient transport of its products, placed at the centre of a major road and rail hub.
Today, while smoke no longer rises from the cement works' chimneys, the Municipality is working to preserve the heritage of an industry that had a considerable influence on local history.