The present fabric with the curly surface, known with the name Casentino, periodically raised to the forefront of the high fashion shows, is the descendant of that ancient rustic cloth market by florentine merchants of the fourteenth century with the term of big cloth of Casentino.
Originally from the first valley of the Arno, the Casentino cloth was known, from the middle age until the nineteenth century, as a rustic and hard cloth made with the woolls produced by the sheeps of these mountains.Very durable cloth was right to the needs of those who were forced to live outdoors or constantly on the road, this fabric was the ritual suit of carters, farmers, sly peasants and also of fat townspeople “....... where between Poppi and Bibbiena and Stia we sin without fear with the glass and with the women, with the cappiotto and with the deck of cards, trusting in the benevolence of St. Francis.......” and since most ancient time was traded in Florence and in Prato.
The Casentino, which was at all times a bristly hairy and rough cloth in accordance with the dictations of the rulers of Tuscany, had a very similar appearance to the fabric of the old Franciscan habit and the color did not deviating too much, in fact the first color that distinguished it was precisely the refectory, the grey and the mouse, its finishing rather rough with irregular sleeping and without a clear direction; the antique casentino cloth was in fact a rough cloth, appreciated only for its high resistance to wear and weathering.
In the same vein in the second half of the nineteenth century our tissue was weighed again to obtain the covers for drawing animals, to which was given the name of coats and this type of tissue was produced in the woolen mill of and Stia traded in Florence between 1890 and 1915.These coats were manufactured with the same indigenous wool of the Casentino cloth and were so hard as to be similar to the felt but to make it more waterproof the manufacturings handled it with alum rock, then replaced the robbia, one of the most ancient dye, with some products obtained by synthesis(a type of alizarina solfoconiugate soluble in water) but the color, which came out, it was not exactly a bright red – as they wanted - but an orange - red more tending to orange than to red, probably due to inexperience.
Our strong cloth for coats, so resistant to every inclemency of the season, persuaded the carters that the animals were more protected from the elements of them, so someone first begin to sew the own cloak using the orange fabric removed from his horse or mule.Was so that they began to see the first cloaks made with orange Casentino cloth. Particularly the ladies liked this color so the manufacturings dyed in this garish color the type of monkish Casentino cloth, which became the image of this valley.
Initially the green cloth was approached to the orange as lining, it was in fact an expression of good taste to build it as the two colors complemented each other so well, after which the green prevailed as the other basic color in the Casentino cloth palette forming a polychrome symbol of the wool Casentino industry.Unfortunately our investigations have failed to determine the exact date of birth of the tissue known today as Casentino with the curls which became a classic in the colors green and orange, because it was not been possible to establish the year in which the woolen mill of Stia has imported an ancient machine of french origin called “ratinatrice” necessary to run the finissaggio curl that characterizes this cloth.
The time limit to which we refer is determined by some documentsthat show us that in 1890 the Casentino cloth with the ratinata surface did not yet exist, while in 1918 there was in the woolen mill of Stia a “ratinatrice” machine of german production.Considering that the complete modernization of the machinery was made in the period between 1898 and 1909, between the construction of the new finishing lines and the construction of the new dyeing, so the period of the birth of our “ ratinato” would be circumscribed in a space of time not exceeding one or two decades, but the research is been vain because the german firm T.Esser Aachen, who send in Casentino the first “ratinatrice” machine, is full missing.
Console us only the illusion that this ancient Casentino cloth wanted to remain an unpredictable surprise, it might have wished to hand down something that is not verifiable and unknown, something that itself deliberately wanted to hide, to awaken the man's curiosity, our attention towards it...........