Stash shopping - Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti
Entering the store through the door between the two motorbikes in the photo, you go up to the first floor. The store is a rabbit warren of adjoining rooms (7 or 8 or more?? I lost count ) with really high ceilings, packed with fabrics. I mean packed. Each room was more or less devoted to one natural fibre, so there was a room of wools, linens, silks and cottons with other rooms devoted to home dec and evening fabrics. Even though the store itself had a whiff of the 50s about it, the fabrics were unmistakeably high-end. If the names on the ends of the bolts - Missoni, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace and any other Italian designer you care to name - didn't tip you off, the prices give a fair indication.
Being used to Anglophone stores where you are more or less free to poke around the fabrics, Fratelli Bassetti was quite different. In each of those rooms, there was at least one middle-aged male assistant whose job it was to show you the fabrics, and cut them. And you really needed this assistant because a lot of those fabrics weren't accessible. He was the keeper of the ladder.
I have rudimentary Italian, which I am quite happy to inflict on all and sundry, and found this set up a little intimidating. If you had no Italian , it could be very intimidating, because I didn't get the feeling that much English was spoken amongst the staff, if at all.
Due to budget and luggage limit restraints, I limited myself to one fabric - a silk crepe de chine, for which I probably paid too much. More to the point, it is an aspirational fabric in that my current skill level means that I aspire to sew silk crepe de chine. Never mind, I'm quite happy to keep it in the stash for a while as my Rome souvenir.
So there is the fabric report from Rome.
And as for what I was doing in Italy ...here's a hint