The long history of sun umbrellas

August 19, 2017  |  Culture and Art, Hotel
Infinity pool with sun umbrellas at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Infinity pool with sun umbrellas at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Sun umbrellas, which you find today by the swimming pools, terraces or gardens have a long history.

Sign of high rank and honor, they were reserved for the use of great personages. On Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian and Indian sculptures and paintings, domestic servants protect their sovereign from the sun with an umbrella. In Assyria, only the king had the right to possess one. It was in the 16th century that Catherine de Medicis introduced in France the sun umbrella as a symbol of femininity. At the King of France’s court, when walking in the gardens, the courtesans protect themselves from the sun with their sun umbrellas. Keeping a fair complexion is a sign of wealth and superiority. In 1820, the wave of sea baths was reserved for a handful of privileged people. Young ladies had to keep a complexion of porcelain, and were hiding under large umbrellas, as can be seen in many impressionist paintings.

Sun umbrellas welcoming guests at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Sun umbrellas welcoming guests at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Only in the middle of the 20th century, when the paid holidays are established and sea baths democratized, sun umbrellas are invading the beaches and become more affordable. Usually with white and blue stripes and fringes, they are bought in drugstore or in shops selling beach articles. Today the manufacture of umbrellas has become industrialized, although in Italy there are still many artisans who produce them. At Villa le Barone, the yellow umbrellas on the terrace in front of the entrance are our signature and welcome Villa le Barone’s guests. Then can afterwards relax by our infinity pool and admire the Chianti magnificent landscape under the shade of traditional white and blue or large unbleached umbrellas.


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