Friday, November 24, 2023

Piedmont = cashmere

Cashmere, castles, chocolate and wine

Welcome to Piedmont, amici!

Amici, close your eyes and imagine a region nested in the Italian Alps with brooks and rivers of unique composition and purity. 

on a clear day you can see the Alps anywhere in Turin

Visualize such a region with a triangular shape and different natural waves within it: higher snow-capped peaks alternating with lower and softer vineyard-covered hills. 
Now imagine, the people living in this region: industrious, ingenious and with an innate sense of aesthetics, fashion, design, architecture and the arts.

This is Piedmont, my friends, where local families from the mountain valleys of high Piedmont have been producing wool fabrics, first from locally bred animals and then, turned into wool traders since 1600s when their products competed with the British and Belgian wools.
This is even before Turin became the European chocolate capital and the official chocolate supplier to all the European royal courts.

Fast forward through a couple centuries and the industrial revolution, and you'll still find some of the same historical Piedmontese families - now European leaders of the cashmere production both as fabrics, yarns and luxury Italian designed and made in Italy garments.

After all, to drink our Piedmont high quality, full-bodied wines and enjoy our aristocratic cuisine made of red wine marinated and slow roasted meats, and luscious chocolate desserts, you must know how to properly dress up!

Piazza Castello in Turin

Since the mid 1800s, our Piedmont spun cashmere yarns and woven fabrics were already famous in all the European capitals; soon more families got into the business making of our high Piedmont mountain villages the European cashmere hub.

In 1910 big cashmere brands from Piedmont started registering their companies: does Zegna ring any bell? It does because up here in Piedmont, Zegna and cashmere partner in more than one brand!

As the world has come together making travels and trades easier, so have our cashmere producers expanded their productions from 'ordinary' cashmere to:
- baby cashmere
- vicuña
- guanaco
- camel
- yangir or Hymalayan ibex
- and other noble fibers sourced from rare animals around the world.

We are talking about long and extra fine fibers that guarantee warmth and temperature isolation with the lightest weight and smallest volume.
Basically, Mother Nature's technological fabrics and clothes at their finest!

Now amici, let's keep on our visualizations going, let's focus on the green soul of these cashmere family owned companies up in the high Piedmont valleys. They all have a deep care for the animals and the environment.

Is it all just a dream? Nope, amici!! 
It is our Piedmont reality where innovation, expertise, experience, high attention to the detail and fashion sense have created a whole 'underfleece' of highly environmentally conscious businesses that have established long-lasting relationships with world herders in respect with the wellbeing of the animals.

In some cases we are talking about shearing only every 2 years, so long it takes the animals to grow their 250gr of fiber (yes, per animal), or using only the fall out. In other cases we are talking about using local thistles to mimic the fur softness of these noble fibers.

In our Piedmont Alpine valleys, people have always lived in the highest respect of nature and this is also why many of our Piedmont cashmere companies have their own museum, farm with the animals and all have plants to purify the waters they use and to limit their emissions.

These are areas where you can ski in the winter and hike in the summer, after all the very first Italian National Park was founded right here in Piedmont!

When planning your Italian travel, keep in mind these are wine districts too. Contact us to plan your stay in one of the many castles with winery located in the Piedmont cashmere hub!

Knitters' heaven in Turin

E-mail Lucia:
walking tours, tastings, concierge services, shopping sessions and private classes in Turin and online

Fly over to TRN airport amici, there's a new British Airways connection in London Heathrow LHR

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