As a guardian of the Renaissance art of silk weaving, Antico Setificio Fiorentino represents both tradition and innovation.
Established in the 18th century as a storehouse for the looms, fabrics, and designs belonging to some of the noble families from Florence – including the Gherardesca, Pucci, Bartolozzi, Corsini, and Agresti – this place has become a veritable atelier over time. It is unique today as the only workshop in the world to still produce the most sought-after fine and handcrafted fabrics on the planet. Antico Setificio Fiorentino transcends space and time as a place where the values
The art of silk in Italy
The art of silk made its way into Italy at the hands of Catholic missionaries who had returned from China. Or, according to legend, by an Empress from the Far East who married in Europe and had a dowry which included magnificent fabrics as well as silkworms.
SILK IN FLORENCE
The art of silk takes root in Florence, becoming a source of prestige for the city and of wealth for its merchants.
Silk becomes the origin of wealth and fame of many noble Florentine families, not least the Rucellai family who, with the discovery of the "crimson" colour, make a fortune for their family and Florence.
THE MEDICI FAMILY
The art of silk reached the peak of its prestige in the Medicean period, when, for Grand Duke Cosimo’s entry into Florence, the streets were decorated with "precious tapestries and drapes... no other workshop could compete with the display of silk and sumptuous gold, what a spectacle".
LEONARDO DA VINCI'S LOOM
A warping machine was constructed in the 18th century using a design which dates back to Leonardo da Vinci, the brilliant inventor of diverse gadgets for human enterprise in peace and war. Centuries later, the warping machine is still perfectly functional and active in production today.
A SINGLE WORKSHOP
Some of the noble Florentine families – including the della Gherardesca, Pucci, Bartolozzi, Corsini, and Agresti – decide to establish a single workshop by sharing looms in Via de' Tessitori, with the tablets and fabric designs kept in their respective residences.
DECORATING WITH FABRIC
Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo of Lorraine donates some still-functioning looms to expand the silk industry. Fabrics from these looms are greatly admired and production is extended for a wider clientele. The fabrics, from what is now called Antico Setificio Fiorentino, begin to adorn the most important homes in Europe.
A NEW LOCATION
While remaining in the historic district of San Frediano, the workshop transfers to the current headquarters in Via Bartolini, number 4, with the name of Antico Setificio Fiorentino. It’s a unique and enchanting location, just like the art that is practised and preserved here every day.
PUCCI AND ANTICO SETIFICIO FIORENTINO
In the 1950s, Marquis Emilio Pucci of Barsento, a partner with the other founding families, took over the majority stake in the Antico Setificio Fiorentino and began to produce fabrics intended to furnish the most prestigious homes of Italian and international nobility.
THE FLORENCE FLOOD
The naphtha-contaminated water of the dramatic 1996 Florence flood ruined part of Antico Setificio Fiorentino’s production, starting with the eighteenth-century tablets. Yet, despite the damage, the thread that started spinning in 1786 continues to weave dreams.
A NEW FUTURE
The acquisition of Antico Setificio Fiorentino by the prestigious fashion company Stefano Ricci ensures the future and continuation of this ancient artisan tradition and contributes to enhancing its charm, collaborations, and international clientele.
ANTICO SETIFICIO FIORENTINO TODAY
Antico Setificio Fiorentino continues to weave dreams under the direction of Elisabetta Bardelli Ricci, whose forward-thinking vision has paved the way for a new business strategy that focuses primarily on female expertise in all its nuances.
Bespoke fabrics: personalised uniqueness
Fabrics from the Antico Setificio Fiorentino are unique in terms of quality, weaving techniques, and texture. Designs in our historical archive reveal Renaissance inspiration and it is also possible to create new and personalised ones, in addition to those already in production, even on a small scale and according to the client's desires.
Architects and Interior Designers from all over the world entrust Antico Setificio Fiorentino with the production of fine fabrics, including their own designs, for unrivalled creations designed specifically to satisfy those who want to appreciate the uniqueness of every single detail.
Our collaborations: fabric as a work of art
Antico Setificio Fiorentino has been central to numerous special projects. Prestigious collaborations demonstrate the desire for uniqueness alongside the creativity of those eager to transform ideas, projects, and suggestions into contemporary, extraordinary creations. These creations are impossible to reproduce elsewhere, just like the men's outfit created with Broccatello Giglio fabric for the 2020 Dolce & Gabbana fashion show in Florence, the capsule collection created for Maison Stefano Ricci’s haute couture products, or the collaboration with Luisa Via Roma.
If you enjoy imagining a world without limits, our Textile Advisors are at your complete disposal for a customised consultation.