Traditional Weaving at Tela Umbra Laboratory in Italy

Traditional Weaving at Tela Umbra Laboratory

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The day after getting dirty in the lovely Gubbio, we headed to Città di Castello, a small city in the province of Perugia, another of the stops of our itinerary through the northern part of Umbria. There, we visited the Tela Umbra Laboratory, a place where traditional weaving methods are still used.  The Lab was founded in 1908 by Leopoldo Franchetti and his young American wife Alice Hallgarten.

More than a century later,  not much has changed in the workshop; we can still hear the distinct sound of the wooden pulleys, the wood touching against wood, it’s as if time forgot to pass by this place. However, the techniques used have become more refined with years of experience, as the weavers constantly adapt the designs from the Renaissance while they pour their knowledge into the crafting of the delicate cloths they weave.

Traditional Weaving at Tela Umbra Laboratory in Italy
Their products are made entirely of 100% linen, only; and Irish flax is solely used in their manufacturing. This project started as an initiative to give work to unemployed women to lift them out of extreme poverty, and it has evolved into an all-female cooperative that has kept the ancient Umbrian art of handloom weaving alive up to this day.

Also, in the same building, there is a museum where there are all sorts of historical looms and equipment related to the weaving trade. Additionally, there is a nice little room set out as en elementary school classroom similar to those founded by the Franchetti’s, which were based in the Montessori methods.

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Cloths made at Tela Umbra Laboratory in Italy

Practical Information

Opening hours:

  • Tela Umbra Laboratory: Tuesday – Friday 8 – 12 /15:30 – 17:30. Shop times: 9 – 13 / 15:30 – 19:30
  • Textile Collection: Everyday (Except Mondays) 10 – 12 / 15:30 – 17:30

Admissions: Full 3.50€, free for children under 6

Old school book in Umbria, Italy
This visit was part of the itinerary of the post-conference trips organized by Travel Bloggers Unite and the Umbrian tourism board. However all opinions and ideas expressed are strictly my own.

For the rest of my photos from my time in Umbria, you can check my gallery here.

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680 452 Bianca Bauza

Bianca Bauza

Bianca Bauza is a world citizen who spent almost four years traveling around South America and Europe. Her passions include photography, street art, outdoor sports, and cooking exotic dishes. She's now based in the Netherlands where she lives with her partner and young daughter. She still enjoys traveling, on her own or with her family, and is always looking for an opportunity to see new places.

All stories by : Bianca Bauza
  • it’s really beautiful but looks like hard work.

    • It’s probably not easy, and I imagine that it could get monotonous at some point; but I’m sure many of these women really enjoy doing this :)

  • It’s fascinating to see how a certain product started; like how a piece of cloth used to be a piece of thread put together thru a very artistic mechanism. I’ve seen one of these laboratories in person, and they really amaze me.

    • Thanks, Rachel! Yes, I think it’s really remarkable to see how these really fine tissues get made; it makes them seem even more precious.

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