The Antonio Ratti Foundation: a life for silk and art
“Homemade labor of long-gone days”: this is the first verse of a wonderful poem by Sicilian poet Lucio Piccolo (1901-1969), which goes on to describe the miracle of silk making in mulberry trees…
The Como-born industrialist Antonio Ratti (1915-2002) knew the art of silk very well, in all the phases involved in production – from rearing silkworms to spinning to weaving. Ratti had a real passion for fabric, which in 1985 led him to create a foundation with the purpose of studying and promoting international research in the field of textiles and visual arts. Ratti also had a deep love for art in general – and these two passions of his were central to his project.
Ten years later, with the New York Metropolitan Museum, he founded the “Antonio Ratti Texile Centre”, which among other things takes care of the conservation of textile finds kept in the museum.
The headquarters of the Fondazione Antonio Ratti – with the annexed Fabric Study Museum (Museo Studio del Tessuto) – is in the beautiful Villa Sucota, a mid-1800s building on Lake Como.
For Ratti, silk and art were only the beginning of a wonderful human adventure. Everything started from that delicate fiber that Lucio Piccolo saw as the fragile object of an everlasting love: “But if you take it with a / slightly trembling hand / and unravel and lay it out / it is a fountain in the wind and sun”.