Artistic craftsmanship in the Italian Riviera di Levante

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Pillow lace

The craft of making traditional Pillow Lace is typically found in the small cities of the Tigullio Gulf, where it was popular since 16th century, especially in Santa Margherita Ligure, Portofino and Rapallo.
This particular type of handiwork is performed by weaving the threads held taut on bobbins (called “caviggae”, in dialect) into a pattern marked on the pillow, called the "ballun" due to its round shape.
The lace-workers rest the pillow on their knees and a sheet of parchment paper with holes outlining the design is placed over the pillow.
Pins stuck through the paper into the pillow guide the threads, which are woven into beautiful lace patterns.
An extraordinary collection of pillow lace is on display at the Museum of Merletto, located in Rapallo at Villa Tigullio.