hats of Montappone
upon a time there was a wise king, and one day a young farmer asked him to
marry his daughter. This farmer only owned the corn he seeded and
The king asked the suitor to give him a crown in exchange for his
daughter. “Your Majesty” - said the boy - “I want to marry your
daughter, but I have neither gold, nor precious stones for the crown you
want. I am a farmer, if I leave my fields unattended to go and look for
gold and precious stones, what will I find once I come back, but ears of
corn pecked by birds?”
your business”, answered the king. “This is what I asked for, and this
is what I want. Remember, one is rich because of what one has, not because
of what one needs”.
boy went home, desperate. He picked three ears of corn from a field and
rubbed them with the hand to assess whether they were ready to be turned
into bread. Husks flew away in the evening breeze. Three woodpeckers
approached him, and after pecking the seeds they flew away towards the
sunset, flying one below the other, from the left to the right and from up
boy looked at them, and only then did he understand the king’s words;
with the three stems he made a braid. He made more braids during the
night, then he sewed them together and folded them.
following morning the boy went back to the king, bringing him the
beautiful crown he had made interlacing the straw braids together. The
crown was embellished by a flat and projecting edge, which protected from
the sunrays and the rain.
he saw it, the king was satisfied and after a while, when the boy married
his daughter, he wore that crown and gave the clever farmer all his
kingdom as a wedding present.
say that since that day all the citizens of Montappone began to interlace
straw, wishing they too would have the same fortune than their fellow
have just read a fairy tale, yet Montappone has always been a point of
reference in the manufacturing of hats. The inhabitants of this hamlet
located in the Fermo hills used to work as farmers, and in the 18th
century they started to recover discards of harvested corn, to make
is thanks to the ancient wisdom of farmers that Montappone has become one
of the main artisan and industrial centres for hat manufacturing, which
are sold all over the world.
is not by chance that the Hat Museum is located in Montappone, a
clear example of the harmonic combination between rural and artisan
The museum contains a large collection of vintage tools and
pictures, and promotes the knowledge of an ancient and valuable art.
materials have also been used in addition to straw (such as shaving and
willow since 1870, and, more recently, meshes) to obtain a diversified
production of hats for all seasons and styles.
Alongside the growth of industries exporting all over the world,
Montappone has always managed to preserve the artisan dimension in its
production of straw hats, renewing at the same time the traditional and
cultural nature of these lands.
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