You can learn about the creation of the beautiful woven textiles and purchase the hand-made products at the Tela Umbra Workshop and Museum. This extraordinary place is housed in the Palazzo Alberti Tomassini in the old town of Citta di Castello.

The baron Leopoldo Franchetti and his American wife Alice Hallgarten instituted the workshop in 1908, an innovative and humanitarian enterprise in Citta di Castello. Alice used to walk around the countryside and met women who were desperately poor, illiterate and fighting diseases that were rampant at the time. She noted their cottage labor of textiles and needlework to bring in some extra money. Alice and her husband set up a workshop as a type of cooperative, to train and employ the ladies, thus giving them work, while also preserving an artisan craft that was beginning to disappear because of industrialization. They used antique looms and traditional production methods that had been in use since the Renaissance to produce exquisite and superior quality linen goods. Alice's innovative vision ensured that women learned (and passed on) the crafts of spinning, weaving, croquet, lace and embroidery.

In addition, she established two schools, ahead of their time, a ground-breaking educational system put in place for the first time in Italy that influence Maria Montessori, who perfected it and established it in cities around Italy. The museum includes the classroom, as well as 9 rooms dedicated to the production and refinement of linen, textile and needle crafts through the years. It is a truly interesting museum, and also gives you a glimpse inside an historic palace.

Open from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. On Tuesday and Saturday it is also open in the afternoon from 3:30 PM til 6:30 PM. Sunday open from 10:30 AM til 1:00 PM and from 3:30 PM til 6:30 PM.

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Address in Città di Castello:

Via Sant'Antonio, 3.

Ph. (+39) 075 855 4337.

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