archive / reportage / info





cement plant / Alzano Lombardo / 1883 - 1974 / 2006, 2007, 2010 / ITALCEMENTI Albino / ITALCEMENTI Palazzolo


The cement plant of Alzano Lombardo is one of the greatest and most impressive industrial monuments of Italy. In particular, beyond the obvious architectonical interest it can be considered a milestone of the cement production technology, as it represents the best intact existing "natural" cement production facility in Italy. The beginning of cement production by Pesentis' dates back to 1878 when a little cement plant was opened in Nese, not far from Bergamo, under the name F.lli Pesenti fu Antonio. However, the foundation stone of Alzano factory was placed by Cesare Pesenti in 1883, soon after his graduation in mechanical engineering. At first, natural cement production was based on Palena and Vulcano -type shaft kilns. The latter were replaced in 1895 by four brand new Dietzsch furnaces. A Deauville railway viaduct over the river Serio was also built, to connect the lime and marlstone quarries to the plant. At that time, the factory was renowned for its special white cement "Bianco Alzano", slow-setting Portland and "Valle Seriana" and "Chiaro Alzano" hydraulic limes.



With the turn of the century the update of the plant was improved significantly. In 1910 a battery of four shaft kilns was built. Based on the Dietzsch model, those kilns were designed by Cesare Pesenti and allowed to reach the singular daily capacity of 10-12 t (Dietzsch type was about 8-9). During the following twenty years the factory was enlarged and provided with an outstanding Deauville network of bridges and ramps, which gave to the site the present image. In 1939 the factory reached its production record of 60000 t of white cement. However, the technological development of cement industry in the postwar was clearly oriented towards artificial cement and rotary kilns. This caused the decline of ancient natural cement production centres. At the Alzano factory the activity slowly decreased until 1966, when all the shaft kilns were turned off definitively. The site was used as grinding centre until 1974, then abandoned and left decaying. Since 1980 the whole complex is protected by law.











Zamagni, V. (2006), Italcementi , Il Mulino, Bologna.

AA.VV. (2010), La conservazione del calcestruzzo armato nell'architettura moderna e contemporanea. Monumenti a confronto, Alinea, Firenze.