Glossary

Bersò
A short cobblestoned path with hornbeam tress along both sides, shaped like an arch, which forms a natural green gallery leading from Via Progresso to Via Stadium.

Cancelli rossi
Red gates – or the wrought iron gates with floral adornments created by the famous artisan, Alessandro Mazzucotelli. The gates marked the formal entrance to the factory. The bust of Cristoforo Crespi was placed just in front, and then placed in the sloping field near the church.

Ceppo dell’Adda
Ceppo is a material extracted from the hollows along the banks of the Adda, used in constructing the village of Crespi, as well as the Taccani hydroelectric station in Trezzo sull’Adda. Additionally, many buildings and churches in Milan include elements made from ceppo dell’Adda.

Gamba de lègn
The iron bridge that connected Capriate and Trezzo sull’Adda supported the rails of the Monza-Trezzo-Bergamo train line, which was in service until 1958. A coal-fired engine detached from the line and followed a secondary train line that ran directly into the cotton mill, carrying mainly raw cotton. The train was known as gamba de lègn, or wooden leg in local dialect, because it seemed to limp a bit, especially uphill.

Industrial water
Crespi was one of the few, if not the only, town in Italy to have two water systems – one for drinking water and one for industrial use in the factory, for public baths, for watering gardens and other daily needs. The upper part of the village had two gigantic tubs that collected rainwater from which the water was decanted to eliminate mud and impurities before becoming part of the water system.

Palasòcc
Another local term for palazzotti, or buildings, and refers to the three simple, rectangular buildings, each 3 stories tall, that were built between 1877 and 1878. They were able to house up to four families on each floor.

Pista
Pista, literally “track”, refers to the velodrome. It was built just outside of the residential area and consisted of a cement track that ran around the perimeter of the football field. It was used for high-speed races of shorter distances, or as the finish line for longer races, such as the “Giro della Bergamasca” It marked the area of the sports complex. Sport was one of the workers’ leisure time activities encouraged by the Crespi family. One of the sports in which the local residents excelled was tamburello, a game similar to badminton.

Poncia
This was the local word for “point”, and referred to the last strip of land where the Brembo River joins the Adda River, behind the cemetery.

Règia
Local word for reggia. “Realm”, refers to the low metal fencing that delineated the yards of the houses, whose diamond-shaped pattern can still be seen. Originally, the fencing was made of recycled materials from the packaging, the straps from the cotton bails,  “reggia”, in local dialect.

Scalù
This was the local word for steps, and referred to the large staircase that led from the village to the sports complex, or the track.

Scarisoeul
Canals that run alongside the roads and allow the run-off of rainwater are known as scarisoeul in local dialect.

Sciabai
The residents of Crespi were known as sciabai, or cripples. The working conditions in certain departments were very dangerous due to the humidity and heat. Exposure to these conditions often resulted in damage to workers’ joints and they often suffered from degenerative diseases.

Shed
This term referred to the saw tooth roofs of single-story industrial warehouses, known as English shed style. The roofs had alternating sections, with the north-facing portion containing large windows, and the other section fully covered.

Trambai
Going to Trambai meant going to Crespi, the nickname by which the village was known. It was an industrial town, filled with the deafening noise of machinery in constant motion, and trambai meant “noise” in the local dialect.