The History of Casentino

From Italy to London

 

There’s a reason we’ve been banging on about Casentino for a few years now. Casentino workshirt this, Casentino trench that, buy this overshirt, look here’s a new colour, isn’t that lovely. So, we owe you a bit of an explanation, and here is the background on our very favourite type of wool…

 

Casentino wool originates from a town of the same name in Tuscany, Italy. It was developed around the 14th century and was originally intended for people and animals working outdoors. The wool came from Casentino sheep on Casentino farms, the local rivers powered the mills for production, and the timber from nearby Casentino forests was burnt to heat the water during the dyeing process.

 

The materials rough texture, warmth and wear resistance made it popular amongst Italian agricultural workers and it would become inextricably associated with the region and would become part of the iconic look associated with Etruscan civilisation. The cloth is heavily brushed by a process known as rattinatura, which helps to compress it and give it its signature fuzziness, as well as improving its ability to keep you warm and dry.

 

Two distinct colours have been historically associated with Casentino and persist in its present-day popularity: emerald green and duck’s beak orange. While the emerald green was traditionally used for Casentino linings, and was used by the friars of the nearby Camaldoli Monastery and the La Verna Sanctuary for the cloaks of carters and as a cover for horses, the orange was the result of a failed dye job in the 16th century.

The use of alum was experimented to try and make the fabric more waterproof, but reacted with a dye and created the iconic bright orange colour. At Percival we love these classic looks but have experimented with a few different colours of our own over the years.

 

 

The Casentino Workshirt is as Percival as you can get. As you’ve read, we didn’t invent Casentino fabric but we have dressed it up in a perfect package of workshirt comfort. Every Casentino garment is handmade in our East London factory, each one stamped according to limited edition production runs.

As you have probably established, we love Casentino, and we hope you do too. You’re now not only equipped with a whole host of overshirts to choose from, but also some top tier pub trivia to bore your mates with when they ask about your woollen garments.

 

 

You’re very, very welcome.