Friuli-Venezia Giulia

The origins of lace manufacturing in Gorizia date back to the arrival of Ursuline nuns in 1672. The nuns founded a convent and opened the city’s first school for girls, where they taught young women how to make bobbin lace. In all likelihood, some of the nuns who were sent to Gorizia were Flemish and skilled at the art of lace, and passed down their knowledge to local women.  The lace made by Ursuline nuns was mostly used to make religious vestments. When Gorizia was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy, bobbin lace continued to be taught at “Royal lace courses”. In the 1940s, Gorizia’s skilful laceworkers  invented their own type of lace as they attempted to replicate 17th century Flemish techniques. Using the continuous ribbon technique, with only three pairs of spindles and very fine, very short torchons created with a single thread, they created an apparently chaotic yet balanced design known as punto fiandra
Lacework courses resumed after World War II, in 1946-47; starting in 1978 they were held at Gorizia’s “School for lacework courses”, with the aim of disseminating these skills throughout the region by organizing courses, exhibitions, and competitions. Gorizia is now renowned throughout Europe for its excellent lacework schools, which produces highly skilled artisans. The school is run by Fondazione Scuola dei Merletti di Gorizia with support from local administrations. Additionally, the Fondazione organizes research and study activities and promotes Gorizia lace.
The Museum of Rural Life in Fagagna (UD) features a replica of the historic lacework school founded at the end of the 19th century by Countess Cora Slocomb, a native of New Orleans who married Count Deltamo of Brazzà, and who opened the first school at the Brazzà castle (just  a few kilometres from Fagagna). Another six schools were subsequently opened, and united into a single entity known as  "Scuole cooperative di Brazzà". The school earned its fame as it was specialized in a type of lace whose beauty could compete with the better-known Burano lace. Brazzà bobbin lace was made using ancient models from Cora Slocomb’s prized collection. Sclocomb herself was skilled at drawing lace patterns and working with a bobbin, and described the techniques to the lacemakers, using designs from 16th century model books. The artistic output of the Brazzà school was much appreciated by a large and demanding clientele: many noblewomen and ladies of the court were among the most loyal clients, as show by the drawings of crowns and coats of arms that were used to customize the lacework. The school flourished until the 1950s, but it had to close in the 1960s due to a series of economic and societal changes.
Drawings from the school, its registers, and many valuable artefacts, which until a few years ago were held by the Institute of the Sisters of Maria Bambina, are now part of the collections of the “Cjase Cocèl” Museum of Rural Life in Fagagna.