Pistoia is not only historic with its ancient and fascinating roots and known for nurseries, it also preserves a long tradition of the art of embroidery.
Since the 14th century, skilled hands have worked various types of yarns, intertwining them to obtain the light and ornate fabric lace.
The cloistered nuns were the first to undertake this tailoring activity in order to decorate linen and ecclesiastical robes. After the conversion of the convents into schools for girls, the art of embroidery began to be taught as a school subject to young women from well-to-do families.
In the 19th century, lace reached the peak of its splendour as many stores opened all over Italy and many Pistoia noblewomen started embroidery workshops and schools, especially in the area between Quarrata, Casalguidi and Lamporecchio. Valuable lace dictated fashion trends and adorned the clothes and linens of the wealthiest families.
At the Lucciano lace school in Quarrata, founded by Countess Gabriella Rasponi Spalletti, embroidery called Punto Deruta blossomed, while in Lamporecchio, at the school opened by the American Laura Merrik, a unique embroidery called di Lamporecchio was created. In Casalguidi, there was the well-known Casale stitch which takes its name from the location itself. The decorations formed using these techniques were high quality hand-made products that met with great success.
Of the art produced by the mani di fata (fairy hands) of Pistoia, the city still preserves the tradition and valuable examples on display in the Embroidery Museum, housed in the noble Palazzo Rospigliosi in the historic city centre.