Our first visit today was to Antico Setificio Fiorentino, which literally translates as “ancient Florentine silk factory.” That’s exactly what it was! Operating strongly since 1700s, this factory is quietly situated in a craftsmen area just a few minutes from downtown’s Florence’s Duomo and Uffizi Gallery. Master weavers work on antique sewing looms in this “bottega” to create traditional Florentine fabrics and damasks. Their handlooms date from the 18th and 19th centuries and still perform impeccably. Designing and making the fabrics is a slow process, due to the very labor intensive tasks required in order to maintain the high quality products it produces (read: $$$$).
We got to tour the factory and showroom, and I was completely amazed that any businesses still produced their silk this way! At first look of the looms, I’d think they were there for decoration — simply to give off that antique aura. They just look so old and as if they belong in a museum. But what I saw was the exact opposite; these machines were still pushing on.
It’s such an awesome process to watch, especially knowing that most of today’s fabric is made in mass quantities, without the quality or unique personal touch that this Setificio puts in each of its pieces.
Fabrics designed and created at Antico Setificio Fiorentino have a history of decorating the most prestigious homes and museums not only in Italy, but throughout Europe. Now, it has clients from all over the world. It’s truly a legendary factory.