Extant Italian Shifts (Camicie)

Plate 117, click for an enlargement

Abruzzi, Chieti Exhibition, 1906

17th Century

This camicia from Ricci's Old Italian Lace is an early 17th century example of an item of clothing made by the "humbler folk" of the Abruzzian mountains. Ricci says that the lace used to adorn camicie "not only served to embellish their [Venetians'] magnificent garments and enhance their beauty, but became objects for the admiring study of the most famous painters, who introduced them into their portraits and pictures. A visit to the Uffizzi and Pitti Galleries suffices to show us the use and abuse of reticello during the latter half of the XVI century, and the opening years of the XVII century...As time went on the humbler folk acquired the habit of wearing lace; an echo of the new feminine art penetrated to the fastness of the Abruzzian mountains, whose women set themselves to make reticello for the bridal shift.


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