April 30th, 2007

The Silk Road


Located at 4 Via Bartolini, the Florence silk factory and showroom of Antico Setificio Fiorentino (Antique Florentine Silk Factory) is a lovely little time capsule. Everything about it: The buildings, the interiors, the patterns, the fabrics, even the profusely blooming wisteria growing up the wall has the look of unstudied perfection. Here is the place where they still weave silk fabrics by hand on wooden looms, just as they did at the height of the Renaissance.


In fact, a visit to the Uffizi gallery down the street to study the paintings of the masters can also be a study of the silk damasks, brocades and the iridescent ermisino that clothe and adorn the painting’s subjects and participants and are painted with exquisite detail. 


Alison and I visited the Antico Setificio on my recent Italy trip to get some inspiration for some of the designs for wall finishes we will be doing in her studio in San Bartolo on our October group trip. We will be doing one room with a combination of plasters and metallic waxes to replicate the look textural/smooth damasks that the factory creates (and that sell for upwards of $400/yd.) Another high-ceilinged room will have a deep frieze that resembles a valance similar in look to some of their custom fabrications for canopy beds that feature elaborate banding and trims. The factory is located in the Oltrarno area of Florence, close to many of the other artisan workshops. They welcome visitors here. You just have to ring the bell. If you can’t visit in person, there is a richly illustrated book available (sold only through them) and it’s photographs are featured here.

5 Responses to “The Silk Road”

  1. Gary Lord Says:

    What you are describing sounds beautiful and I personally can not wait to be there and create the finishes with everyone. You have done a wonderful job laying out the information for us on this trip and I am sure evryone will love it all!

  2. Nancy Jones Says:

    Hi Melanie,
    I’m pouring over all of the photos and letters in anticipation of our trip. I’ve wanted to do this for such a long time, so I am especially thrilled to be going with such a great group. As always, I look forward to spending time with you and reaping the benefits of the creative energy that will surround us in such a beautiful place.

  3. Melanie Says:

    Gary and Nancy-

    Life is beautiful. Nancy, girl, you certainly deserve this and I am so glad you are giving yourself the opportunity to go!


  4. Designamour » Blog Archive » In Love with Lime Says:

    [...] Wow! I have been SO busy in the studio. I have so much to share and so little time! I was just reworking some of the samples for our Italy trip and feeling very happy with the results so I want to share! One of the finishes we will do is meant to replicate some of the gorgeousl woven silk fabrics found at Antico Setificio Fiorentino. [...]

  5. Window Panel Says:

    i like your post, can i republish it on my blog?