A peaceful place. Evocative landscapes. A valley with a long history. One of the most important museum complexes in Italy. We are talking about the Paper Museum and Paper Mill Valley in Toscolano Maderno, a town along Lake Garda’s western coast, a few kilometres north of Salò on the road to Limone.
Once again, Lake Garda reveals its multifaceted character to tourists. Here, we find an area of historic and cultural relevance.
…and is still made today! In Toscolano Maderno in via Vespucci, steps from the lake, a company still manufactures geographic maps and specialty paper, which is exported all over the world.
The history of paper production in Toscolano starts a long time ago, as early as the 14th century, in the area that today is known as “Valle delle Cartiere” (Paper Mill Valley). This valley a bit farther from the lake saw some sixty small buildings being erected over the centuries to manufacture paper. They were one next to the other along the river.
This flourishing commercial activity was possible thanks to the use of water power and a suitable climate. In the 20th century, with the advent of new technologies and electricity, paper production was industrialised and was moved closer to the lakeshore. Several paper mills were abandoned and vegetation started to take over the valley again.
In 2007, a 2-year combined effort by the Municipality and private entities led to the reopening of Maina Inferiore paper mill, the last to have closed in 1962. The structure was repaired and converted into a museum. Visitors can admire the old 16th century core of the building and explore the history of paper production and printing from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The museum is surrounded by nature and enchanting forges, which run very deep in some points of the valley.
The museum also offers educational opportunities such as themed workshops and guided tours.
Address: Via Valle delle Cartiere, Toscolano Maderno
For details and information visit the official website www.valledellecartiere.it or call +39 0365 641050.
If you want to challenge yourself and create your own hand-made paper under the guidance of young and competent Master Paper Makers, here’s the experience for you.