Silk cultivation in Italy started in the eleventh century CE. Initially, silkworms were cultivated using only indigenous black mulberry trees. For several centuries following, manufacturers in Italian towns manufactured luxury silk fabrics utilizing only imported foreign silk threads. In the fifteenth century, however, the practice of cultivating non-native white mulberry trees made its way from China to Italy. Due to the better quality of their leaves, this facilitated the production of domestic Italian silk threads for use in the manufacture of luxury products. Rural silk cultivation then expanded sharply.

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