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Museums that have the right stuff

“Musei che hanno la stoffa” (Museums that have the right stuff) is an itinerary of textile and embroidery in Umbria.

There are at least thirty museums in Umbria exclusively devoted to the topic of the textile or possessing artefacts in their collections made of fabric, lace, vestments, dresses, costumes and accessories.

The textile arts cross horizontally different periods and territories handing down skills and knowledge, often exclusive to women's world, and even testify clearly the daily life and public ceremonies, the household and the luxury trade, the sacred and civil rituals.

The production techniques taught in homes, convents and schools especially established, by the time provided women with a source of income and social redemption. In the entire Italy, the Umbrian case is extremely significant for the range and quality of production and dissemination of the products.

In 1921, in Perugia was launched the laboratorio-scuola Giuditta Brozzetti to protect and promote craft and textile sector in Umbria. It creates fabrics based on the heritage patterns of Medieval and Renaissance, often using Jacquard machines.

In 1908, in Città di Castello, the Collezione tessile di “Tela Umbra” was launched. It started an enlightened experience thank to which women could work and get paid a certain amount for every product they made while at the same time could stay close to their children in the workshop’s kindergarten. Later the workshop specialized in the production of hemp and linen cloths.

The school on the Isola Maggiore, launched in 1904, taught how to make Irish lace to the daughter of the fishermen, already experts of the complex weave of the nets.  Today the island is home to the Museo del Merletto.

A little later, was launched in Panicale the “Ars Panicalensis”, specialized in the production of refined embroidery on tulle. It is now venue of the Museo del Tulle A. Belleschi Grifoni.

In Valtopina the Museo del ricamo e del tessile collects handmade textiles from different private collections donated to the Scuola di Ricamo (embroidery school) which still today spreads and promotes stiches of the traditional embroidery, in particular the needle painting that arrived in Europe around the 15th century.

End your itinerary visiting the Museo del tessuto e del costume antico in Spoleto. It boasts fabrics, clothes, embroidery and laces from the 16th to the 20th century.

Moreover you should visit the Museo della Canapa in Sant’Anatolia di Narco where are kept the records regarding the entire working schedule and transformation process of hemp: from crops, steeping and drying to rippling and carding. Here you can also find textile collections from the 18th to the 20th century and learn the ancient art of weaving.

Download the pamphlet (in Italian) "Musei che hanno Stoffa. Le collezioni tessili dell'Umbria"

Download the e-book (in Italian) "Musei che hanno stoffa"