The Realm of Venus Presents...

he talian howcase



Sebastiano da Siena

Costumed by: Sahrye Cohen; San Francisco CA, USA
(Kingdom of the West, Shire of Cloondara)

Costumer and SCA Member

A Sienese outfit in the Style of  the 1460s - 1480s


Piero dell Francesca: Battle between Heraclius and Choesroes 1452-66 - this one clearly shows how the back of the farsetto is constructed.

Piero dell Francesca: Torture of the Jew 1447-1451 - showing both the farsetto and cioppa.

Sahrye Says...

 Several years ago Sebastiano and I had the opportunity to go to Siena for the Palio and this inspired the creation of some Sienese garb for the SCA.  

The basics of Sienese clothing and Florentine clothing of this time period would have been very similar.  From Dressing Renaissance Florence: Families Fortunes and Fine Clothing by Carole Collier Frick it seems as though the Sienese were actually considered somewhat foppish, at least in comparison to the more somberly dressed male Florentine. Most Florentine men of wealth seem to dress for their portraits in red and black (very expensive colors), although in frescos we see many other colors in daily life, including blues, yellows and greens. Wools and silks are the fabrics of choice as outer/fashion fabrics in Central Italy during the Renaissance, with white linen being used for undergarments.

This gentleman's garb is of the mid-late 15th century from around Florence and Siena. Components are a shirt, brais, full hose with codpiece (calze), doublet (farsetto), overgown (cioppa) and a hat.

The major sources I used to make the calze, farsetto and cioppa are The Medieval Tailorís Assistant by Sarah Thursfield, this website by Liz Jones, Medieval Military Costume, by Gerry Embleton and The Medieval Soldier by Gerry Embleton and John Howe


The farsetto and cioppa are made of wool with a linen/cotton lining.  The farsetto is interlined in canvas and the cioppa is edged with faux fur to simulate the fur lining that would have been found on some of these garments.  

One of the most difficult parts was getting the pleats in the cioppa to look like the rounded and very regular pleats that appear in paintings and frescos.  I ended up sewing a belt at waist level to the inside of the garment to secure these pleats.  

The absolute most difficult item was the calze.  I decided to make full hose, which have the legs joined and a codpiece and are seen in the later part of the 15th century.  These calze are made of wool gabardine cut on the bias and required numerous mock-ups and fittings to get a good end result.  Sebastiano would like to point out that it was all worth it in the end to make him happy.







Embleton, Gerry. Medieval Military Costume Recreated in Colour Photographs. The Crowood Press: Wiltshire. 2000

Embleton, Gerry and John Howe. The Medieval Soldier: 15th century campaign life recreated in Colour Photographs. Windrow & Greene: London. 1994

Frick, Carole Collier. Dressing Renaissance Florence: Families, Fortunes and Fine Clothes. Johns Hopkins University Press 2002

Jones, Liz.

Thursfield, Sarah. The Medieval Tailor's Assistant: Making Common Garments 1200-1500. Costume and Fashion Press: Hollywood, CA. 2001

The dress diary for this outfit can be found here. If you would like to contact Sahrye you can contact her at sahryec (at)


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(Copyright Information: As author I, Anabella Wake, known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona, hold copyright on all information on these pages. In addition I hold copyright on all images of clothing/costume that I have made. You are allowed to make one facsimile copy for your own use provided that this notice is included on each page. Please ask permission to copy, disseminate and/or distribute my work - I would like to know when and how you are finding this information of use.)