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Thanks to some archaeological findings in the subsurface of Castellanza, it has been found that the first human settlement occurred during the Copper Age (2500-2200 a.C.).
From other unearthed remains it was established the presence of different civilizations such as Celtics, Romans and Lombards. Many of these findings are in the Archaeological Museum of Suthermeister at Legnano.
The name of Castegnate (then Casteniate) - later absorbed by Castellanza - appears for the first time in a document of 1045 with which the Emperor Henry III confirmed to the Monastery of St. Dionysius the ownership left by Archbishop Aribert.
Only in 1361 Castellanza was mentioned for the first time in an archive kept at Busto Arsizio. A hundred years later, Castellanza absorbed the two districts of Cogorezio and Sponzano - places that previously belonged to the Parish of Olgiate Olona.
The name comes from "castellanze" that were groups of houses around a feudal residence: the Castle. The people who lived in the"castellanze" were the peasants who worked for the local noble.
Theorigin of the name "Castegnate", which will later be merged into the municipality of Castellanza, comes from the chestnut-tree, a very common plant in the area. Thanks to its position between the Alps and the Po Valley, Castellanza has always been the crossroads of civilizations and cultures.
The city is divided into two parts by the river Olona dividing the oldest part (Castegnate) on the left bank, from the newest on the right bank.
The Olona river had considerable importance for the birth of grain mills and molasses that in the seventeenth century amounted to eight (out of 427 in the entire Valle dell’Olona).
The surrounding countryside was used for the cultivation of potatoes, cereals, vines and mulberry for raising silkworms. The inhabitants were mostly farmers who cultivated the land owned by the nobles of the time: the Borromeo, the Fagnani, the Crivelli, the Arese, the Brambilla, clerics and others.
This landscape described by Stendhal when he visited "a green oasis with a clear rivulet" lost its rural aspect in the late nineteenth century when the mills gave way to the industries that would have a predominant role in the life of Castellanza.
Also famous for their international relationships were the mechanical, chemical,electrical and especially textiles establishments such as Officine Pomini, Manifattura Tosi, Società Lombarda per l'energia elettrica, Manifattura Cerini,Industria chimica Montecatini and the famous Cotonificio Cantoni.
In1878 Castegnate and Castellanza were united into one Municipality. The urban increase was consequential to industries that, in the second half of thetwentieth century, brought the population of Castellanza to the limit of the borders with neighboring municipalities of Legnano and Busto Arsizio. Despite everything, Castellanza boasts a feature that few industrial cities have: a large forest that includes over twenty parks and gardens.
The title of "city" came in 1974, just when some of the most important industries were about to close.
Today Castellanza can be defined as the city of the Tertiary and Culture.
In fact, in addition to High Schools, Castellnza offers a very modern fully computerized Municipal Library (opened in 2004)..
(Source: Pro Loco Castellanza)
In the History section of the local Library there are biographies and documents on the history of Castellanza.