Europe & Britain | People & Stories

Meet Marta Cucchia, the woman keeping one of Italy’s most ancient crafts alive

At Trafalgar, we’re passionate about connecting you to individuals who share our love for creativity and innovation. From farmers to artisans, musicians to artists, all across the world our trips give you the opportunity to meet and learn from talented locals who have dedicated their lives to pursuing their craft.

People like Marta Cucchia, director, designer and weaver of Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti. Marta is a fourth-generation weaver, and one of the last in Italy to still produce Umbrian textile art using traditional looms and materials. We caught up with Marta to learn more about her craft, her hopes for the future, and how Trafalgar has helped to sustain this ancient tradition for future generations…

Marta Italian weaver with loom

Where in Italy is your workshop located?

Our workshop is located in one of the oldest Franciscan church of Italy, built in 1212. We are in the heart of Perugia, close to the iconic Assisi in Umbria.

Tell us a little about your craft

In our workshop we’re keeping an ancient tradition alive, the glorious Umbrian textile art which dates back to the Middle Ages. Our typical production, the Perugian Tablecloths, are represented in famous paintings such as Giotto’s, Ghirlandaio’s, Pintoricchio’s, up until Leonardo Da Vinci’s.

Perugian Tablecloths handmade by Italian weaver Marta

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What makes your particular style of weaving unique?

My studio is one of the last weaving ateliers in Italy – and the only one that reproduces medieval Perugian Tableclothes using Jacquard looms from XIX° century. Furthermore, with the pedal looms, typical of the Umbrian countryside, we create fabrics using millenary techniques passed down orally from generation to generation.

How long has the weaving tradition been in your family, and how has it been passed down over the years?

My great-grandmother, Giuditta Brozzetti, founded this Laboratory in 1921. From then on, the passion for hand-weaving was passed down from mother to daughter, each woman bringing her own experience according to her personality and studies.

Now, in the fourth generation, not only am I the director and designer as were the women in my family, but also the first weaver.

What problems have you faced in trying to keep this ancient craft alive?

Maintaining such an anachronistic work of art in a world so fast and ever-changing, and facing a global market, is very difficult for a small business. Another problem I’ve had to face is finding an apprentice. Nowadays, it is hard to find people who are willing to learn such a complex and laborious art.

Marta's workshop and machinery

Why do you love sharing your passion and craft with Trafalgar guests who visit?

Trafalgar gave us the incredible opportunity to share our mission. By meeting so many people from so many horizons and being able to tell them about our unique story, we are able to explain to them the importance of keeping the local traditions alive.

How has Trafalgar helped to sustain your business?

Trafalgar has been a huge support, both morally and financially. For many years, keeping my business open was literally a fight. Having such a big company believing in me has been a great recognition and has given me new energy and hope for the future. Last but not least, the opportunity of welcoming Trafalgar guests allowed us to meet new potential clients and supporters.

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How is the grant that you received from TreadRight being used?

It was used to realise so many dreams I had in mind, such as repairing the Jacquard looms and their chains of cards, restoring the church’s roof, creating a new e-commerce platform, starting new lines of products and even hiring an apprentice!

Marta italian weaver's apprentice using loom

What are your future hopes for your workshop, and for your craft?

I’d like this activity to become a small business and not just a “crazy weaver’s” dream: it would become autonomous and allow the next generations to make a living from it.

I hope the workshop will see a fifth generation (and more) at its head because I am convinced of the importance of preserving traditions and culture, without which no future can be built.

I’d also like to thank the Trafalgar team for their amazing work and support. You have given this Laboratory a new life, and we look forward to the day when we can welcome guests back once more.

Marta's workshop

You can meet Marta and support her business on our Italy Bellissimo tour.

If you’ve visited Marta at Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti before, we’d love to hear about your experience. Please share your memories in the comments below…

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