The Italian Metallurgic Society, commonly known as S.M.I., was founded in Rome in 1886. In 1902, S.M.I. was acquired by the Orlando family, who brought it to the pinnacle of success, by building many factories also in Tuscany. Fornaci di Barga’s factory was inaugurated in 1916, it was originally built to produce ammunition. Among the factories scattered throughout Italy, Campo Tizzoro, in the province of Pistoia, is one of the most famous: today it no longer in operation and it was requalified as a museum as, apart from metallurgic production machines, it also had many air raid shelters.
S.M.I. didn’t only provide many jobs to Barga’s citizens, but constructed many buildings in Fornaci di Barga too, such as professional schools, a theatre, the canteen and there were also trips and summer camps for the workers’ children. Moreover, a curiosity that not everyone knows is that the main Church in Fornaci, called Cristo Redentore, was built on land that S.M.I. donated to the parish.
Over the years there were a lot of changes, such as the name that changed in 1977 into Metalli Industriali, then in 1987 it changed to Europa Metalli and, finally, in 2006 it became part of the KME Group. Of course the ammunition production stopped and many copper objects are now produced, but not only: just think that for a short time Europa Metalli produced Euro coins too!
To conclude, this factory, called “metallurgical” by everyone, wrote the history of Fornaci di Barga, incredibly contributing to its development.
— Written and translated by Margherita Paolinelli
Photo credit: giornaledibarga.it