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24 Sep

Traditions of Lake Como: Merletto di Cantù (lace)

The Merletto di Cantù (lace) is famous all over the world and it is synonymous of elegance, patience and precision of the Made in Italy craftsmanship.

What is the peculiarity of Merletto di Cantù (lace)?

This is an handmade lace done using the bobbin and twisting cotton threads. The bobbin is a cylindrical tool on which a drawing on paper is fixed. Above it, the cotton threads are woven through two sticks. Also from this short description you understand that the work behind every single centimeter of this kind of lace is so precious and difficult to realize.

The story of the Merletto di Cantù (lace)

History conveys that the art to create lace trinkets like the Milan’s one was bringed to Cantù in the seventeenth century by the nuns of St. Mary St. Ambrose. They probably taught the Cantù’s nuns how to do this hard job. The sale of lace was soon monopolized by a few merchants who sold this “Merletto” in Piedmont or Bergamo. According to a source, it seems that in the early nineteenth century there were in Cantù 700 women working in this lace handcraft.

This tradition has been preserved until the last century, when even the daughters of the peasants learned to do this Merletto di Cantù. In 1850 fashion changed: with the advent of veils, shawls and other clothing, the lace developed remarkably. This convinced the women to work fervently in this highly profitable job, less laborious than working into the fields, creating a very big market.

Merletto di Cantù (lace) today

Only around 1950 the Cantù’s lace production and sale declined, but it remained into local culture: lacework continued for the home and for the young people who accumulated them for their dowry. Only in recent years Cantù’s laces have had a new rediscovery, both commercially, culturally and historically. In Cantù was founded the “Comitato per la Promozione del Merletto” that organizes courses, exhibitions and encourages innovations about this type of technique, with the aim of preserving this precious tradition. Find out more about the wonderful Lake Como’s lace (merletto) and have fun discovering this tradition during your vacation at the Hotel Posta in Moltrasio.

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