The art of fashion is as Italian as a 90-second, wood-fired pizza. Whether it’s the model-dotted streets of Milano or the legacy of style titans like Miuccia Prada, designing and hand-making covetable clothes runs deep in Italy’s history. The origins of fashion date as far back as the Renaissance, when the likes of Michelangelo inspired the era’s colourful and bejewelled garb.
While the north of our peninsula is the foundation of Italian fashion, Fermo’s quaint hills hold a unique piece of clothing history that’s not as popular, though every bit as big—in Montappone, hat production is the pride of many (like our own Emanuele, whose passion for hats lies in a background in millinery). Officially, Montappone is known as the world capital of hats and as such, attracts waves of international headwear enthusiasts all year. According to Montappone’s Museo del Cappello (“The Hat Museum”), the town’s hat-making roots lie in its fields of jervicella, a versatile type of wheat we had mentioned in our last edition. Jervicella has grown here since Rome ruled and in the 19th century, our first milliners started taking the remains of “jervo” used in pasta production to craft stylish straw hats; The wheat’s culms would be cut, sorted and bleached before being sewn into the final product. Film buffs will appreciate that the museum houses the last straw hat worn by Legendary Italian director, Federico Fellini. Today, artisans use all manner of materials, like felt and wool, to make several styles of hats and Montappone and area boasts over 100 companies that produce them, contributing a significant amount to Italy’s overall industrial economy.
There’s even more to learn about our rich history in millinery, so be sure to ask us about it during your next stay.