Narrating the contributions of polytechnic design culture and of the municipal electrical company of Milan (Aem) in the making of a productive territory in the Alps offers a key to read the landscape of historical hydroelectric infrastructure in Alta Valtellina. Beyond the economic and political meaning of such works, their historical value is justified also by the complex knowledge implied, taught in the technical university of Milan and practically developed on site, as well as the constant commitment of Aem in the achievement of its innovative development plans through a careful recognition of local resources. The narration of the projects and of the realized works during the first twenty years of the company reveals the structure of its technical offices and the connections with technicians and companies; their importance extends beyond the well known and visible structures. Today, the material remains of the early hydroelectric territory are a valuable evidence of these processes.
Keywords: Alpine landscape; Alta Valtellina; Azienda elettrica municipale di Milano; historical infrastructure; hydroelectric energy; technical teaching