How many people know that the ”Italian straw hat”, the real hat ”Made in Italy”, is alive and well in Florence: 15 companies continue this traditional craft producing these exceptional straw hats.
Hats have been worn for a long time, whether in summer to protect oneself from the sun, or in winter to be protected from the cold. One of the best known hats’ type, which crossed centuries and was a fashion accessory, is the straw hat, always associated with Italy and with Florence. Native of Signa in Tuscany, its qualities are known for a long time. On the occasion of the World Fair of Paris in 1855, in the category ”Manufacture of fashion products”, Tuscany’s straw hats workers were rewarded by a medal of honor offered by the emperor Napoleon III and- in the practical and complete Guide of the Exhibition- it is written: ”as regards to the straw industry, Tuscany comes first. The exhibition of the manufacturers of this country is of the most remarkable: it shows a collection of straw plaits, from the most common until the finest. The collection of hats is also very beautiful and we notice in it a number of hats, superiors in beauty to all others made until this day”.
But who is aware that 15 Florentines companies still continue this craft tradition, manufacturing straw hats? We met them in the exhibition ”Artigianato e Palazzo” held in Florence some weeks ago. These companies have created an association «Il Capello di Firenze». They export their products ”Made in Italy” all around the world! We introduce here below seven of them.
The Rafaello Bettini Company was based in Signa, one of the centres of production of the most important straw hats in 1886. It is a family owned company which knows how to innovate and has created a line of hats and feminine accessories under the label ”bettina”.
The company “Corti & F.llo“, created in 1917 and also localized in Signa, is known for its success with the production of ”canotto”. It is also at the avant-garde of the innovation with its tissues anti folds and anti rain.
The products of the Company ”Luca della Lama”, are known by Hollywood stars, such as Diana Ross, Stewie Wonder and many others! In the movie ”Eat, Pray and Love” Julia Roberts wears a panama designed by Luca della Lama! Since 2008, they use only natural products in their manufactures.
Always in Signa, the Grevi family maintains the culture of the ”Hand Made” since 1875 and their creations can be admired in films such as ”pretty woman” or “Tea with Mussolini”.
“Angelo Frasconi” is also a family company since several generations and exports all over the world!
“Inverni Firenze on 1892” is a women family company, founded in Poggio a Caiano in 1892 and is present in all the European trendy fashion shops.
“Fratelli Marzi” is another Florentine historic straw hats company and their hats are worn by all the European crowned heads: the British Royal Family, Caroline of Monaco and many others. Selection of the best raw materials, tradition, research, quality are Rigor’s keywords.
Villa le Barone will invite you to meet 8 other members of the Consortium ”Il Cappello di Firenze” in a next article.
Hosts of Villa le Barone can wear these magnificent straw hats ”Made in Italy” and they can also visit, if they wish, one of these Florentine craft companies!