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Sbraci wool mill in La Cartaia An imposing complex, dating back to the fourteenth century, which went beyond time and difficuties, revealing the grandeur of human ingenuity

The Industrial Complex of La Cartaia in Vaiano is an authentic masterpiece of industrial archeology and an economic excellence of the Prato area. Since the fourteenth century, a paper mill stood here, the result of the transformation of a previous fulling mill.

In 1871, the plant came under the ownership of Alessandro Scarlini, who made significant improvements by adding new warehouses and relaunching the business. A key role was also played by the textile entrepreneur Alimo Sbraci, who later acquired the property.

Alimo Sbraci, who became owner in 1918, began an extraordinary renovation between 1932 and 1940, relying on the genius of the engineer Pier Luigi Nervi. Following a flood of the Bisenzio river, it was necessary to expand the building to place the new spinning machinery. Nervi proposed a cutting-edge solution: an innovative structure with a span of 20 metres and reinforced concrete beams, which represented an authentic revolution for that period.

The Prato construction site was a full-scale experimental laboratory for the geodesic structure hangars, which were simultaneously under construction in Torre del Lago, Orvieto and Orbetello by Nervi.

It is beautiful to imagine the machines that spun the fate of the fabrics, while the brilliant Nervi creates an architectural masterpiece that combines art and functionality, reaching the peak of innovation.

La Cartaia was not just a factory, but a community in its own right. Apartments for employees, the refectory, the infirmary and even a grocery store were part of this place.

During World War II, the building suffered serious damage due to the actions of the Germans.

The restart was difficult and, although the company had become the Fratelli Sbraci Joint Stock Company, it went bankrupt in 1960. The war brought destruction, but the soul of the building was reborn, thanks to the tenacity of its new owners, the Affortunati family.

In 1962, Giovacchino Affortunati purchased the entire complex, which still belongs to his family, engaged not only in the production of excellent textiles, but also in preserving its memory as a treasure of industrial archaeology.

Today, this industrial wonder hosts a textile finishing company, Fartex, and in the Nervi warehouse a particular production of hi-tech sails, the Millennium company, testifying to the glorious past and contemporary productivity. A place where the present embraces the past, and where you can be part of history.

Information

  • Via della Cartaia - Vaiano (PO)