The nineteenth century and commercial expansion
In the 1809 revolt, Andreas Hofer emerged as leader of the rebellion (1767, San Leonardo in Passiria – 1810, Mantua): he spent time in Mezzocorona and Mezzolombardo, where he set up his head-quarters.
In 1815 the entire region passed from the authority of the Principality of Trento to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which held it until 1919.
In the middle of the nineteenth century two interventions radically changed the landscape of the Piana Rotaliana: the river Noce was diverted between 1849 and 1852 and the river Adige was straightened.
An increase in trade was the driving force behind the economic development of Mezzolombardo, which in this period became an important commercial centre, as witnessed by the architecture of the town centre.
The Piana Rotaliana's local economy received a huge impetus from the raising of silk worms and numerous spinning mills sprang up across the region. Before grapevine cultivation rose to prominence, this industry was the mainstay of the region's economy. When a crisis hit the silkworm breeding industry, Don Giuseppe Grazioli (1808, Lavis – 1891, Villa Agnedo) turned the tide of fate by bringing healthy silkworms to Trentino and thereby saving the economy of the entire region. The expanding cultivation ofgrapevines, which was to become the Piana Rotaliana's economic mainstay, was one of the factors contributing to the decline of the silk industry.
An important landmark in the expansion of grape growing was the establishment of the Agricultural Institute of San Michele all’Adige in 1874 under the direction of agronomist Edmund Mach (1846, Bergamo – 1901, Vienna). One of only three of its kind in Europe, the Institute was set the task of transforming all sections of agriculture in Trentino and of bringing in continual improvements, a challenge that we can say has been met today. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Teroldego cultivar came to typify the Piana Rotaliana.
A landmark event in the nineteenth century was the opening of the Brenner railway in 1859: the arrival of the railway brought with it a profound change in the way of life in the Piana Rotaliana, which went from being a place to stop off to being a place of transit.