Until the early 1900s the Val Grande and Val Pogallo were an important source of timber and the river was used to transport the trees felled by means of log rolling.
The San Bernardino provided a source of hydropower for the factories which were built along its course and its water was employed in the bleaching processes of the adjacent textile factories. In 1892 Carlo Sutermeister, an industrialist of Swiss origins, constructed the first Italian hydroelectric power station capable of distributing electrical power ; it supplied the inhabitants of Intra, Pallanza and other places in the area as well as the factories nearby. Subsequently the power plant of Rovegro was built and today there a three power stations in use on the river.
Read more about this topic: San Bernardino (torrent)
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