Umbrian Linens - The Allure of Ancient Patterns and Evocative Colors
The tablescapes of the Italian tavola can be as rustic as a rural casa colonica or a refined as a Renaissance villa. Known for both functionality and beauty the evocative colors of Umbrian linens reflect the beauty of the Italian landscape, the allure of ancient patterns and the skill of the weaver. The palette of colors used to create the designs are symbols of the cultural life of Umbria. Green for the olive groves, pink and cream the colors of the stones of the cities, garnet symbolizes the local wines, Montefalco Rosso and Sagrantino; russet, yellow and marrone the fields of wheat and tobacco and cielo, the color of the blue sky.
The designs themselves are classic patterns from the Middle Ages and Renaissance; scrolls, leaves, flowers, amphora jugs. Ornate and stylized patters and mythological characters like the griffin (symbol of Perugia, the capital of the region) were influenced by eastern designs from China when 17th century Italian potters began copying Chinese ceramics. The api pattern (bee in Italian), said to bring luck and good fortune, was a symbol of Cardinal Maffeo Barberini (later elected as Pope Urban VIII) who had been the Bishop of Spoleto from 1608-17. Three bees were his coat of arms and can be followed all the way to Rome.