Lucca became world-famous back in the golden age of silk in the 12th century for producing some of the best textiles in the West, from precious gold and silver brocades to fine woolens and linens, all crafted by expert weavers and artisans. The textile trade served as the town’s main economy for centuries, with handlooms, heddle looms, and other time-worn techniques still popular through the dawn of the 1900s. Many of the beautiful mansions you’ll pass in Lucca’s old town were built by wealthy silk merchants, and some of the recurring patterns found in traditional Lucchesi fabrics were inspired by their family crests.
After a bit of a downturn, some dedicated artisans are now working to revive Lucca’s former Silk Road glory. At this atelier set in a 16th-century brick building, a group of women who worked together at another producer have struck out on their own to craft pieces that appeal to the modern customer, but which use age-old methods such as tele a traliccio (lattice-work cloth) and traditional designs like quadrettino Lucchese (a local checked pattern). Find an array of clothing and accessories for men, women, and kids—from everyday wear, scarves, and bags, to glamorous wedding gowns—as well as gorgeous linens for the home. Everything is made by hand, with the proper respect shown to this pedigreed process.