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