Venetian fabrics and tapestry has always been considered an important element in furnishing of the homes of the rich bourgeois of the city.
In fact, these fabrics had several purposes, with the walls protecting from the cold, and they could be moved and transported easily, and also became decorations in boardrooms, in churches, field tents, and even boats.
Rubelli, one of the best known Venetian companies producing fabrics is located within a historic building overlooking the Grand Canal, within the historic home of the Queen of Cyprus, Caterina Cornaro.
In this setting, the company’s customers choose between precious samples of famous fabrics that the company produces.
The company was founded in 1858 by Lorenzo Rubelli, and today, it is able to produce fabrics with any type of yarn, using some of the most sophisticated machinery, yet utilizing production frames from far back as the 8th century in the processes, for authentic results.
Rubelli’s production of brocades, damasks, velvets, silks, and lampas are unique in worldwide scale, and found in some of the most beautiful houses in the world, world-renowned theaters (such as the Teatro alla Scala and the Teatro La Fenice), and decorate exhibition halls and notable European castles.
On their palazzo building, the company has gathered a collection of more than 3,000 textile documents, dating from the 15th to the 20th century.
This historical archive, one of the highlights for Rubelli as a company, includes documents from all over the world and has proven to be an indispensable tool in conducting historical research and reconstruction of historic houses, museums, and embassies all over the world.
Another Venetian landmark in the field of ancient fabrics is the Bevilacqua company.
Bevilacqua has been in operation since 1875, and similarly to Rubelli, they also operate out of a noble home that overlooks the Grand Canal, not far from Riva di Biasio.
Within the company’s building, you can see an amazing about of historical drawings, which give a good idea of how this unique company once managed to achieve a dominant position in European fabrics scene.
Roberta di Camerino, on the other hand, another famous “Made in Italy” brand in fabrics, has production facilities within Cannaregio district, in yet another charming Venetian palace, Palazzo Loredan Grifalconi.
The brand Roberta di Camerino has been in business since 1950. Her quality handbags are some of the most copied in the world, and uniquely combine designs, colors, elegance, and practicality.
Initial successes for the brand came from velvet bags hand-woven with antique Venetian looms, but in the 1960s, the company developed a famous line of innovative and completely original patterns with ‘trompe l’oeil’ desigs.
The brands trademark style has become to include shapes, colors, and materials, and class, combined with precious materials, most notably “velvet soprarizzo”, hand-woven on ancient wooden looms which, according to the traditional Venetian techniques, are manufactured in the dark to retain their uniqueness.
In terms of Venetian fabrics and sophisticated creations, another name to remember is Mariano Fortuny, who founded his company in the island of Giudecca in 1922.
A photographer, designer, and inventor, Fortuny created innovative printing techniques using photographic processes, which are to this day veiled in secrecy. Fortuny fabrics are Venetian in spirit, but at the same time, they also combine several other cultures (Fortuny was born in Spain) and influences.