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Printed canvases

A great Romagna tradition

a craft whose origins date back to the 18th century

Two steps into history

Hand-printed canvases are one of the symbols of Romagna. There is still no certainty as to the origin of this technique, but the diffusion of printing on canvas seems to date back to Europe as early as the 6th century, with an improvement in the 17th century thanks to the importation of new methods from the East and in particular from India. Wooden moulds from the 17th century very similar to those from Romagna, still preserved in Rome, suggest the presence of printing works in the capital of the Pontifical State.
From here the technique may have spread to the suburbs and particularly to Romagna, where it still survives and is handed down from generation to generation. The dialect poet Aldo Spallici recalls in his writings the rust-printed cloth blankets that covered oxen in the countryside from autumn to spring. Often imprinted on the blankets was the image of Saint Anthony Abbot, protector of animals.

In 1997, to safeguard and promote the art of printing on canvas, the artisan workshops of Romagna, now very few in number, joined together in the 'Associazione Stampatori Tele Romagnole' (Association of Canvas Printers of Romagna) and coined a trademark guaranteeing that the product was produced using the original ancient techniques.

Artigiano al lavoro

Curiosities about printed canvases

In the past, the most commonly used cloth was hemp. Many families had a loom at home, often in the stables, and wove directly. Today, a variety of materials are used, such as linen, cotton and, as in the past, hemp. From that time to the present day, the cloth is stretched and cut 'straight', pulling a thread along the cloth and following it with scissors so that it is straight. The most frequently used motifs represent traditional peasant symbols such as cocks, grapes, ears of wheat, flowers and vine shoots. To these are added today, other modern subjects and drawings.
Cloth printing was part of the peasant world; it was, in fact, a simple and inexpensive method of imitating the fine fabrics, decorations and embroideries of the richer people.

Authentic wealth

Each craftsman builds his own artistic heritage of moulds made by the craftsman.
These moulds are all different from each other and the small imperfections guarantee the authenticity of the craftsmanship.

What products are produced?

Tablecloths, bedspreads, curtains, towels, cushions and kitchen linen are just some of the products customised with the Romagna print.
Printers continue to creatively expand their range of articles.
Each one is a unique and unrepeatable piece of great value that stands out for its quality and history.

How is the printing done?

The technique and tools have always been the same.
A mineral-based coloured paste is applied to the hand-carved moulds:
from blue to green to red to the unmistakable rust that is obtained by applying an iron oxide solution.
This is followed by stamping where the required designs are composed on canvas.
After drying, the colours are fixed in large vats: the colours acquire their characteristic colour appearance and
guaranteed washability.



How does the tradition continue?

In the historic centre of Cervia, overlooking Piazza Pisacane, is the Printed Canvas Workshop, where you can discover this precious art at its best.

C'ERA UNA VOLTA di Elisa Drudi
Via Mazzolani, 13 - Cervia (RA)

Tel. +39 0544 971234


The workshop is part of the Associazione Stampatori Tele Romagnole (Association of Cloth Printers of Romagna), set up to protect the historical and cultural heritage of an ancient tradition still active in Romagna today. In addition to the numerous masterpieces by craftsmen, today the tradition of printed canvases continues thanks to numerous exhibitions organised by Musa over the years.
In addition, the culture of Romagna lives on thanks to numerous workshops, including one on printed canvases.

Immagini di tele stampate

Printed canvases

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