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Elenchi professioni turistiche anno 2015


Foto di merlettaie al lavoro in epoche diverse
Lace-Makers of the past

It is not so unusual, especially in summer, for the inquisitive tourists wandering through the alleys of Offida to run into the lace-makers; women of all ages, sitting in front of their houses busy at making laces.

Particolare delle mani della merlettaia a lavoro con il capezzale
Today’s Lace-Makers

It is great amusement to watch them at work while, with incredible skill, make use of pins and interweave the threads and the spindles - better known as "cann'itt" – with one another.

A detail of "lu capzzal"

A cylindrical lace-pillow filled with sawdust, known as "lu capzzal", and white or unbleached threads are what lace-makers need to make all kinds of laces: handkerchieves, centrepieces, curtain trimmings, linen sheets, patterns with animal figures or floral motives and, recently, works for high fashion clothes.



The art of lace represents a typical woman’s tradition dating from the 1400s when it became popular first among the working class and later (17th century) among the religious communities and the noble families. The practice of laces became a mass phenomenon, particularly thanks to the Benedictine nuns that came to Offida in 1655.

In the 1600s a considerable number of lace works were produced: from tablecloths for altars to robes, from the princely ruffs to the white prelate’s gowns.

The work of Maria Carlini Sieber (1762-1833), the widow of a violin player from the Czech Republic, was worthy of notice; she actually devoted herself to teach the art of lace.

The Cooperativa Artigiana Merlettaie (the Artisan Cooperative of Lace-Makers) was founded in 1979, unique example of woman’s handicrafts in central-southern Italy. It has produced, and still does, the lace in this special Offida style and sells it retail.

Madonna lavorata al tombolo centrino completamente lavorato a tombolo centrino con perti di tombolo farfalle realizzate con il tombolo Foto di alcuni lavori delle melettaie
Lace works
clic on the photos to enlarge them

Various are the ways of making laces; among the best known are: the " “renaissance- stitch” (seven couples of spindles only), an arabesque of “alleys” stringed together by threads and a honeycombed hexagonal “grid”; the "Venice-stitch" (9-10 couples of spindles), decorated with "curls" similar to the Etruscan motives of the wave and the violet in various floral patterns; finally, the precious "ancient lace".

These masterpieces of handcrafted lace can be admired inside the premises of the museum of the Lace, all year round.

Since the summer of 1983, near the fortress in Offida, the tourists can admire the monument to the lace-makers.

Created in bronze by the local sculptor Aldo Sergiacomi, it portrays a little girl, a grown-up woman and an old lady (the symbol of three generations) busy at making laces; a real hope that this precious art will last forever.


Foto del sottopasso che da Piazza Bergalucci conduce in Via pierantozzi, via delle Merlettaie
A photo of the underpass that links Piazza Bergalucci to  Via Pierantozzi up to via delle Merlettaie
Foto del Monumento alle merlettaie realizzato dallo scultore Aldo Sergiacomi nel 1983 e posto alle porte di Offida
Monument devoted to the lace makers carried out by sculptor Aldo Sergiacomi in 1983, sited at Offida's gates