Silkworm farming [in Italy] was a brutal job. Since silkworms require a constant, mild temperature, entire sections of farmhouses were turned over to them and whole families would often pitch in, stoking round-the-clock fires to maintain the proper warmth. Some even “gave the worms the house and slept outside in the stalls with the animals,” says Ester Geraci, an official at Como’s Educational Silk Museum.
In case you are curious, here’s the Como Silk Museum website.
I found a really neat site that has lesson plans and instructions for rearing silkworms in your classroom, and is also a nice general resource on silkworm life cycles. Wormspit is also a good resource.