Anghiari, Tuscany, Italy
"A family tradition since 1842"
During our month in Italy recently, my husband and I spent one week in Tuscany. We stayed several days near Siena and then moved on to Chianti where we chose accommodations at an idyllic setting that was walking distance to Gaoile. While doing research for that leg of our trip, I stumbled upon a story on the internet that grabbed my attention. A wine enthusiast and his wife were traveling through Chianti, and she had one thing in mind… a side trip for the best textiles in Italy. When I read that, I just had to see those wonderful fabrics.
Textiles From Anghiari
Busatti is renowned for their timeless fabrics, hand loomed in the village of Anghiari two hours east of Gaoile. The only day we had available for a visit was our anniversary. How fitting to make the special trip on a special day. As Busatti states, they are located in what was the geographical heart of the Italian renaissance. Anghiari is a lovely and peaceful village. On the day of our visit, there were few tourists. We explored the town, fascinated by its views over the countryside, and the wonderful sounds and smells of daily life. After lunch, we walked to the Busatti store where I spent three hours in textile heaven!
The Busatti Store
Although Busatti has grown over the years, their pledge has always been to “never disown the origins, the taste, and the quality”. That pledge has been carried out for over 170 years by the Busatti/Sassolini family.
Busatti’s storefront has large windows that give full views of their beautiful displays. The store is divided into a number of decorated rooms that artistically show fabrics and linens for table, bedroom, baby’s room, living quarters, and much more. At one end, is their fabric showroom containing bolt upon bolt of the finest hand-loomed fabrics carefully displayed from floor to ceiling. Although some items are available for purchase at the store, most customers will select their fabric and trim and have their items custom-made at Busatti. Finished products are shipped around the world to country estates, hotels, and private residences.
There were so many fabrics for my eyes to take in. It took the first hour just to gain some familiarity with their designs, trims and colours. I had decided before leaving home that I wasn’t going to leave the store without buying one or two tablecloths, and napkins. It wasn’t an easy selection. All their fabrics are gorgeous… smooth to the touch with a natural sheen and all so perfectly weaved. Many designs are reversible - it’s like getting two for the price of one! When you appreciate quality and craftsmanship, it’s so hard to decide from such a diverse selection of elegant, classic designs and colours.
Silvia, a gracious member of the Busatti family, helped me enormously by answering all my questions, taking down and unrolling numerous bolts for my viewing pleasure, calculating the yardage, and being a marvelous host. I chose one design in soft pink and ivory with co-ordinating fabric for napkins, and another a soft green and ivory also with a co-ordinating design for napkins.
The Busatti Workshop
While Silvia organized my order and I glowed with satisfaction for a purchase well researched and carried out, Michelangelo introduced himself to my husband and I. A senior member of the family, he obviously appreciated our enthusiasm for their craft. He told me I'd chosen two of their most prized designs from their entire collection!
Then he asked if we'd like to see their workshop. Indeed we did! He guided us to the workshop located below the store in the vaults of the 16th century Morgalanti Palace. It was modest and unpretentious by any standards.
We saw the ancient carding machines that work the wools of the Apennines, an area that stretches between the Arno and Tiber rivers. The old shuttle looms (sons of the first Industrial Revolution) were magnificent to see. As we left the workshop, I thought of their gifted workers who have such great skill and passion. I wondered how so few could weave such wonderful fabrics in this time-honoured fashion and yet still meet world demand for their products. As Michelangelo pointed out, their fabrics are for those with refined tastes and an appreciation for age-old traditions.
A Home Décor Statement
All I can say is I loved all Busatti fabrics! One British tourist I met in Radda in Chianti told me that she and two friends have made it a habit of splurging once a year on a Busatti fabric for their homes. What a splendid idea! For now, whether dining the two of us, with family and friends, or conducting a dining etiquette tutorial, my Busatti table linens will give the evening heightened elegance and a most memorable mood.