One of things I learned from my years living in ‘Little Italy’ in Toronto, along with my foraging for all things Legnano on eBay.it, is that Italians don’t throw things out. In fact it sometimes seems as though they keep absolutely everything on the off chance that someday it may just be of use or of tremendous value if the right person comes along. That perspective may be a little exaggerated but it is in contrast to North Americans that ‘love to shop’ and may be equally adept at ‘throwing away’ if the landfill sites are any measure.
With the demise of Legnano in the 80’s, my first thought was that the old factory had been demolished for a housing development given the land values in Milan and an ever-growing population. However, the aforementioned experience made me think again and so I jumped on Google maps to check out the list of Legnano address that are listed on the back of the brochures and catalogues in my collection. And sure enough, the Legnano factory at 1 Piazza Emilio Bozzi is still standing and occupied today by Duplomatic Automation S.R.C., a producer of high end precision machine tools. Although it seems the Piazza Emilio Bozzi may have been lost or minimized to an intersection at some point in time.
Immediately below is a photo of the Legnano factory at 1 Piazza Emilio Bozzi as illustrated on the back of a 1960’s brochure. As you can see it is a sizeable factory and the water tower is also a nice piece of industrial architecture that must have an architect or engineer’s name behind it.
And here are a few pictures courtesy of Google that show the front of the factory as it is today.
And also an arial view.
From the brochure photo and the arial view above you can see the vaulted style of the factory roof compared to the more modern flat roof construction of the adjacent buildings. This building format reflected the limited ‘open span’ of construction technology at the time. I have to dig through my files for some additional photography however this factory would appear to be much older than the brochure photo would suggest and I suspect that the facade of the factory was given a face lift in the early 60’s along with the construction or updating of the office building immediately in front of the plant and the water tower that faces the road.
Update (21 Nov 16)
Thanks to a reader, Giuseppe Scaglia of Italy, he advised that Legnano production was first undertaken in a part of the original Woolsit factory of Franco Tosi that was located at Via XX Settembre in Legnano as of 1906. A picture of this first Woolsit-Legnano factory is shown below. I am not sure what became of the old Wolsit factory however from a look on Google Earth it appears as though it is no longer there as the area is primarily residential today and only a section of the perimeter wall remains.
On or about 1962 , Emilio Bozzi SpA opened a massive new factory of approx. 22,000 m² (including 10,000 m² of warehouse) along the ‘Strada Statale 527’ in Legnano replacing the historic site of Via XX Settembre. In those years, annual production amounted to about 150,000 bicycles over 80 different models  ) and Legnano products were sold worldwide in 62 countries  .
With the sales crisis of the bicycle market in the late 60’s and early 70’s, the expansive Legnano plant was closed in 1971, less than 10 years after it was opened, and the company’s operations moved entirely to the Milan site at 1 Piazza Emilio Bozzi, with the subsequent sale in the 1980’s of the Legnano industrial site to Duplomatic Automation S.R.C., a producer of precision machine tools.
In addition, here is a current day photo below of 9 Corso Genova, the longstanding business office for Emilio Bozzi SpA. On the street level there is now a shop selling designer eye wear.
The other address in Milano which appear on numerous Legnano catalogs and sales sheets, often under the heading ‘Sede’ (legal seat), is 8 Via Cicco Simonetta. Here is a pic of that address today, now a fish merchant.
Before we conclude this post, below is a photo (c.1903) of the statue of the Lombard warrior, Alberto da Guissano that stands in the center of Legnano and was inaugurated in 1900. Emilio Bozzi would later adopt this heroic figure as the symbol of the Legnano brand.
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