For quite some time, the history and evolution of lace in Latium went hand-in-hand with the demands of its main clients – popes, cardinals, and courtesans – who nevertheless also liked to wear clothes adorned with lace manufactured abroad, especially Flanders. In Latium, local laceworkers used almost every available technique, albeit with a preference for bobbin lace.
A longstanding lace manufacturing tradition is present in the Tuscia region and in Bolsena; indeed, several local associations are currently petitioning UNESCO to have artisanal lace added to the Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Bolsena in particular has recently emerged as a hotbed for the revival of a number of weaving techniques, with particular attention to Orvieto lace, a particularly elegant artisanal style inspired by Irish lace that can be made by multiple laceworkers simultaneously.
The artisanal production of lace has historically taken place in various areas of southern Latium, although it is experiencing a gradual decline: in Sezze, local girls learned from an early age how to weave hemp for making linens and garments, but also how to make lace to adorn brides’ dowries; the wonderful lace from Gaeta is documented in many portraits painted by Scipione Pulzone, a native of the town. Pulzone depicted many of his subjects clad in clothing decorated with sophisticated, elegant lace; finally a hall of the Museum adjacent to the famous abbey of Cassino is dedicated to lacework manufactured in the area between the 15th and 19th centuries.