Anghiari sits on the opposite side
of the Valtiberina from Sansepolcro on the way to Arezzo.
We drove over in a heavy rain and only appreciated the beauty of
Anghiari after we turned off the highway on the long straight road
approaching the city and then climbs the hills to the pretty good height.
The city is as perfectly preserved medieval town as you can find.
We were delighted to find such a pretty place, since we were only
there to find Busatti. We parked in the centro and crouching under our umbrellas
asked someone where to find Busatti, which fortunately was just around the
corner. What a surprise!
In this out-of-the-way town with no real tourist traffic here was a
very elegant and large store with several beautiful showrooms carved out
of the medieval building.
were graciously greeted by an English-speaking representative who took
lots of time to show us the goods and explain the method of production,
the history of Anghiari and of Busatti.
How interesting! We
fell madly in love with the beautiful fabrics weaved by Busatti. Mostly pure linen, but some in cotton and linen.
Table, bath, kitchen, and bedding wares.
All made on over hundred-year-old looms incorporating ancient
designs original to the region.
a major treat, the saleslady took us down into the ancient factory below
the showroom, and we got to see these old and beautiful – and noisy! –
looms weaving these gorgeous fabrics.
The contrast of the bright colors of the threads and fabrics
against the stark stone walls was startling.
The ceiling was low and the air was choked with cotton dust.
Thank goodness OSHA doesn’t rule in Italy!
Unbelievably, I left my camera upstairs in my coat and missed some
understand how they could keep these ancient machines running – some
even had wooden parts. They
explained that Anghiari was an ancient center for artisans making
munitions and some have turned their craft to keeping the old mills of
Busatti running. It turns out that Anghiari was a key location on the route
from Rome to the port at Ravenna and developed an ancient weaving industry
making military uniforms from the sheep grazing in the Valtiberina.
What impressed us so much was the uniqueness and exceptional
quality of these linens. We
couldn’t resist and ordered new drapes for our dining room and a
beautiful tablecloth and napkins.
As we were closing up the
transaction just in time for lunch, Mr. Busatti entered the shop, and we
had a chance to congratulate him on the elegance of his wares.
A gracious gentleman, he obliged with a picture.
We told our saleslady we were looking for a good bowl of soup for
lunch (Anna's dinners leave room for nothing more).
She grabbed an umbrella and led us to a restaurant – it was
closed so she trodded on to another.
This one was Ristorante Nena at the top of the town, up a very long
and steep hill. Our climb was
rewarded with the most delicious Tuscan minestrone we have ever eaten!
The restaurant, of course, had Busatti linens on their tables.
We started our lunch with Lardo di Colonnata, a dish Mike
and Leslie had just told us that they recently experienced.
Quite amazingly, at least for us Americani, it is pure lard (fat!)
from pigs that is only made in the small town of Colonnata adjacent to the
famous quarries at Carrara, and it is that marble that defines its
uniqueness. The lard is
pressed into Carrara marble tubs (called conca) with garlic, herbs,
and sea salt for a minimum of six months to age.
Sliced it is served with a little olive oil and some rustic bread.
The result is intoxicating.
Over lunch we reflected on the treat
of our visit to Busatti and how nice their drapes were going to look in
our dining room. The pattern
weaved into the cloth compliments the wallpaper and Venetian lace on the
windows perfectly. Fortified
we headed for Arezzo. Still
raining, we missed the highway we had identified on the map, and just
followed the reliable blue arrow signs.
We lucked out and were directed on a lovely country road with no
traffic along a small river through beautiful woods with several small
waterfalls tumbling next to the road.