Also known as Calimala, the Arte dei Mercatanti was the florentine art of international trade in wollen cloths from abroad. The merchants bought the pieces from the countries of origin, especially Flanders and England to resell them in the squares and in the markets of the whole world.
The pieces stopped in Florence, where they were marked with a sort of bar code that indicated the country of origin and the price paid in local currency. Here they were often subjected to a real finishing, dyeing or reinforcing the color of some, carding and combing others to make them softer, then they were folded and packaged in the manner of a pad, the bale that was tied on the mules for transport.
In the headquarters of Palazzo dell’Arte dei Mercatanti the members of the corporation met weekly to discuss and regulate their activities.
The finishing procedures that were applied to the cloche were secretly kept, because they greatly increased the value of the merchandise and therefore of the income for the corporation.
Arte dei Mercatanti draws its origins from here, from the distant 1300s when Tuscany exported its savoir faire all over the world. Today, with confidence in the future, we want to revive the values that in ancient times constituted our reputation, bringing our principles firmly forward with attention to innovation as a means to convey and spread quality and craftsmanship.