Il Bisonte acquires its unique wool cloth in Stia, and uses it to make bags and lifestyle items.
The tradition of wool processing in this small village lying on the slopes of the Apennines halfway between Florence and Arezzo has been verified for more than 2000 years. In the second half of the nineteenth century there were 2000 people living in Stia and 500 of them worked as artisans in the town’s large wool mill. All their skills were dedicated to making something unique: the Casentino cloth, a woolen cloth made from the shearing of the valley’s sheep, hand-treated to render it curly, super-resistant, waterproof, and cold-proof. So, the perfect fabric for travelers or for those who spent most of the day outdoors, and also for the monks living in the nearby Camaldoli and La Verna hermitages.
The typical color of Casentino cloth was created by mistake, from the wrong combination of rock alum and colorants. But that unmistakable reddish orange was very much appreciated by the lords of Florence and that error became the precursor of success. Among the greatest admirers of the orange Casentino wool coats were also the Italian royal family, Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini. Its definitive consecration came many years later, thanks to Audrey Hepburn wearing a Casentino wool coat.
To discover Stia’s extraordinary textile tradition, you can visit the local Museo dell’Arte della Lana.