The History of Italian Silk Production
Italy has had a long tradition in silk production, which reached Europe from China around AD 550. Although Chinese silk was known in the Roman Empire and was even mentioned by Homer in 'The Odyssey, and by Aristotle, who talked about a wild silk textile from the island of Kos. It is thought that mulberry trees, used in the production of raw silk, were introduced to southern Italy by the Byzantines at the end of the ninth century. By the beginning of the 11th century, the region of Calabria had 24,000, mulberry trees in cultivation.
The province of Catanzaro was the centre of silk production in Italy between the 9th and the 11th century. They supplied almost the whole of Europe, selling it to Spanish, Venetian, Genoese, Florentine, and Dutch merchants from the port of Reggio Calabria. By the 17th century, Catanzaro had become the silk capital of Europe, with an impressive silkworm breeding facility and over 1,000 looms employing 5,000 people. They produced 50% of all the silk in Europe, including all of the silk-based fabrics used in the Vatican.
Italy became the most important producer of silk products during the Middle Ages. Gradually, production moved from Calabria to the north of Italy, to cities such as Lucca, Genoa, Venice, and Florence. By 1472 there were 84 workshops and at least 7000 craftsmen in Florence alone.
Silk production also became prevalent in various areas of the Po Valley; Vicenza and Verona becoming the biggest European producers of raw silk, forming the backbone of a thriving Italian silk production industry. In 1400, Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, planted mulberry trees around Lake Como, starting a long-lasting and profitable business in Italian silk production. By 1972 silk production from Lake Como had exceeded that of both China and Japan.
Italian Silk FAQ
What products are available in Italian Silk?
We have a wide variety of stunning Italian silk accessories, scarves, and ties to suit your every desire. From everyday wear, to limited editions pieces for those special occasions.
- Brocatto – A silk & wool pocket square
- Triangoli – An Italian silk pocket square
- Skyline of Milan – Vibrant double sided silk scarf
- Love Dance – Limited edition silk scarf with artistic flamingo design
- Harmony – Handmade Italian six-fold silk tie
- Terrace of Rome – Vibrant double sided silk scarf
Where is your Italian Silk sourced from?
Providing an authentic Italian product is of the utmost importance to us. All of our Italian silk is sourced from Lake Como, now the epicentre of silk production in Italy. The environment is the perfect habitat for silkworms due to the abundance of Mulberry trees, and silk production because of its clear waters. 85%-95% of Italy’s silk production comes from this area that is lush in nature which is why the highest quality of silk available globally come from here, the natural goodness is reflected in the quality of the silk.
What is the quality like?
We only use the highest quality of Italian silk for our products, which means they are lightweight and have a beautiful sheen to them showcasing each colour vibrantly. Our Italian silk products are exceptionally smooth and of the highest quality stitching and design. Our products are not only beautiful to look at, but they can also be cherished for a last a lifetime as they are made to last. Quality is something that is very important to us.
Why choose Italian silk from the Italian Shop?
It can be difficult to source a real Italian silk gift these days as there are many synthetics products available online today. You can trust us at the Italian Shop, all of our products are made to the highest quality, and 100% authentic honouring Italian heritage at competitive prices. Our products are genuine Italian Silk expertly stitched by artisans on the shores of Lake Como in the heart of the Italian Silk industry itself.
Explore our collection of Italian Silk today
If you are looking to add a touch of sophistication to your wardrobe, or if you are searching for an elegant gift for someone special why not have a look through our beautiful collection of Italian silk scarves and ties today. There is a wide range of colours and designed to suit your taste, whether it is something bold and colourful that you are looking for, or something a little more classic but equally alluring. Our products are versatile and can be worn in various ways but will always add something special to any look.