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Florentine embroidery: Bargello, a typical product of Tuscany

Bargello embroidery - History and Information | Techniques of Bargello embroidery

Embroidery has always been used as a decoration, and during the years, patient women armed with needle and thread, have been creating clothings and furniture covers.
Bargello embroidery is a counted needlepoint, whose origins date back to the fifteenth century. It was probably imported from Hungary, and its name comes from the Bargello palace in Florence, former prison and palace of justice.
It has been a very common technique, either in the tiny workshops in Florence, either in women's convents or colleges. This technique has been handed down from generation to generation, transforming into a family tradition to the extent that it has become one of the most widely appreciated Florentine handicrafts. Traditionally it was used for covering furniture but it is also applicable for cushions or arazzi.

The traditional Bargello stitch (or Florentine stitch or Flame Stitch) consists of geometrically shaped patterns, like zig zag patterns (which resemble a flame) or diamonds. (look at the images below, photo taken from wikipedia.org) Usually the embroidery is made on canvas with quite thin woolen thread and is worked in several shades of different colours, going from light to dark and from dark to light, creating shadow or depth. The choice of the colors and of the stitches length is very important for the end result of the work.

Florentine embroidery Bargello example 1
Florentine embroidery Bargello - example 1
Florentine embroidery Bargello example 2
Florentine embroidery Bargello - example 2