For centuries, hats have protected mankind from the heat and the cold. In the earliest years of the eighteenth century, the people of Signa began to grow grain, not for food production, but for straw hats, a revolutionary idea which the Florentine area was the first to realise in all the western world. Known as Leghorn hats, because they were shipped out from the port of Livorno (Leghorn, in English), these Florentine hats achieved fame throughout the world.
One Domenico Michelacci was the first to kick off this idea, when he decided to sow thick fields of timilia durum wheat, to be harvested before maturing fully. The wheat would grow upwards in search of light, producing a longer, softer type of straw, easy to weave, clear and uniform in colour.
The Domenico Michelacci Museum is home to tools, documents and photographs that pertain to the growing and working of the straw used to make these hats and fashion accessories.