INTRODUCTION       INDEX       CHAPTER 1       CHAPTER 2       CHAPTER 3       CHAPTER 4       CHAPTER 5       CHAPTER 6       CHAPTER 7       CHAPTER 8       CHAPTER 9       CHAPTER 10       CHAPTER 11        
                           CHAPTER 12       CHAPTER 12bis       CHAPTER 13       ADDENDUM 1       ADDENDUM 2       CONCLUSIONS       INDEX of NAMES       BIBLIOGRAPHY       FAMILY TREE 
Gerolamo Gavazzi was born in Desio on 18 June 1943. 
He has a degree in Economy and works in Milan as Tax Lawyer and Certified Public Accountant. 
He lives amongst Milan and Erba. 
In order to buy a copy of the book, please contact the writer at the numbers 0039 02 480.11.456/7 or send and email to  
webmaster: Luana Ortiz 
Many families decide one day to share their professional activity among members and create a business, where most actions are undetaken together and involvement is guaranteed. Such companies, although stronger than others at the beginning, collapse quickly when a new generation with different objectives replaces the founders. Only few of these organizations pass the test of time and become a multi generational family business, where one parental group keeps holding one activity. If observed close by, they resemble oak trees: very well adapted to a complex and changing environment and strong enough to sustain, branch by branch, all its fruits in a harmonic order. But even most of these oaks, when conditions change too much, cease to exist. Only a minimum part of them reaches the future through transformation, from family business to family in business. Now, it does not matter any more if the family is recognized by one big or many small different activities: it’s the enterprise spirit that counts, that unique and familiar culture, an undertaking pulse that keeps appearing generation after generation, to guide, change, reshape and create any company. If observed from the distance, it does not look like a lonely tree anymore. It is a forest.  
Adine Gavazzi  
Gavazzi — a name and a family, the destiny of which, since as far back as the 16th Century, was to follow the precious thread of silk through five hundred years of economic history in Brianza and Lombardy.  
The story begins in Canzo, in the upper Lambro valley, where the family originated. Here the natives of the Brianza district seem to have given the best of themselves — they were exceptionally strong and tireless, far-sighted, active, and gifted with intuition, courage and a calculated sense of risk and adventure. This lineage, moreover, could not have originated in a better place than this hard-working town of northern Brianza, which was one of the first to echo with the rhythmic beat of the silk looms. Unwittingly, the place is a concentration of extraordinary synergies, with a remarkable number of local families making their fortune through the most varied businesses. The Canzo natives may be said to have a particularly strong genetic potential; the town, in fact, has produced such prominent figures as Magno Magni, founder of the Montecatini Company, Luigi Airoldi, co-founder of the Italian Credit Bank, and Filippo Turati, father of Italian Socialism. And then, of course, there is the Gavazzi family, which may rightfully be numbered among the families that gave birth to the Italian Industrial Revolution.  
This extraordinary town of Canzo, however, which is situated along an ancient «silk route», is merely the auspicious beginning of a long, adventurous journey in which the Gavazzis, stage by stage, move down «along the branches», securing with each generation new and more stable outposts. Their family tree, in actual fact, could be said to be the mulberry — which, as every native of Lombardy well knows, «has a shadow of gold».  
Slowly, yet doggedly and without hesitation, the Gavazzi family began their ascent. From Canzo to the town of Chiavenna, gateway of the silk trade with the Grisons and with northern Europe; again to Canzo and then to the industrious countryside of the Lodi district; from here to Valmadrera, where the cultivation of mulberry trees and silk cocoons had long brought wealth to the ancient local families, and then to Desio where, still following the «golden thread», the family were to begin a new and bolder chapter of their history.  
This age-old journey was eventually to come to an end in the capital of all commerce, both ancient and modern — Milan. This represents the much-desired destination and the inevitable epilogue of the saga of a family, which, although gaining recognition over the years mainly for it leading role in the history of the Italian silk industry, did not hesitate to test its strength in a great many other enterprises. “Gavazzi Silk and Mettle — History of a Lombard family” is the title of this weighty account which, generation after generation, sees the Gavazzi family, prominent among the most ancient ranks of Lombard industrialists, as authors of an incredible number of businesses, manufacturing activities, initiatives, industries and banks.  
If (in the words of Adine Gavazzi) certain families can be compared to forests, that of the Gavazzi family is surely one of the densest, full of interesting and curious trees, both rare and common, grand and insignificant, yet all essential to the environmental balance of the whole.  
As trees of this hypothetical forest, then, the members of the family step into the limelight of their century to tell here their stories. From the mysterious progenitor, Bernardino, of whom we know nothing except that he lived in Canzo at the end of the 15th Century, to the Gavazzis of today, this book spans seventeen generations of family history, with the biographies, anecdotes, merits and flaws of its members, to recreate the five-hundred-year-old fresco of the industrious middle classes of Lombardy.  
Giorgio Mauri