In the small and romantic Follina, a splendid jewel of industrial archaeology houses one of the oldest Italian wool mills, a producer of fabrics for the coolest fashion brands in the world.
Strengthened by an important history, Lanificio Paoletti resisted the arrival of Napoleon, went through two world wars and “defeated” the advent of synthetic fibers without ever ceasing to look to the future with great respect and love for a craft that starts from afar. If the legend, in fact, tells that it was the arrival of the Cistercian monks around 1146 to introduce the processing of wool in these areas, the oldest name Follina suggests a pre-existing presence of a fulling (washing) of wool. A business that was favored by the great availability of water, and therefore of energy, in the Treviso-Venice area, with the support of the Serenissima, which opened the doors of trade in the Mediterranean.
It was towards the middle of the 1600s that the presence of Paoletti weavers in nearby Miane was attested for the first time and it was in 1795, following the opening of the first factories in Italy, that Gaspare Paoletti founded the Lanificio, the only one in the area that will be able to survive two world wars. In 1917, following the Austrian invasion, the family moved to Biella in order not to interrupt production, while, during the Second World War, they were forced to produce uniforms and coats for the opposing troops and to act as an operational center and radio link during the retreat of the Nazi troops. But the wool thread has never been interrupted…
Having overcome even the most diverse fashion trends, and therefore market demands, from the 1960s onwards, today the tenth generation of the Paoletti family continues to search for the best raw materials (such as Mohair, Cashmere, but also Alpagota sheep) who works using the more traditional spinning methods; a push towards excellence that has led Lanificio Paoletti to be among the producers of yarns and fabrics in carded wool most sought after by the super brands of fashion – Armani, Chanel, Lanvin, Valentino… – which delegate the sampling of creative and exclusive fabrics.
Several times a year, the factory opens its doors for unmissable events, such as La Via della Lana, during which designers sell their creations made with the samples of the Lanificio and the Osteria del Tessitore is active, or the end sales season, a real must among the fashionistas of the area to grab the most precious fabrics.
You can also book a guided tour of the factory to see – through the phases of mixing, carding, spinning, twisting, warping and weaving – how the most exclusive wools in the world are born or get advice from Veneto Secrets a designer who, by appointment, can create tailor-made garments for you. The Lanificio Paoletti is also working on the cataloging, including digital, of the precious historical archive where hundreds of textile collections are kept from the 19th-century to today. A treasure of unique models of wool and fabrics created for famous stylists, armies, and religious orders, many of which today no longer reproducible.
In the fascinating field of fiber art, the “secret weapon” of the Lanificio is called Mario Tasca, an expert and eclectic designer of unique fabrics that he creates with mathematical precision by scanning the historical archive and crossing fibers on fibers at his work table, like an artist with his palette of colors. The visit to the Tessitura will lead you to discover also his truly secret world.