"Oh holy paper ? Museo della carta" Museo della Carta - Paper and Watermark Museum Tip by Trekki

  Fabriano, Museo della Carta e della Filigrana
by Trekki
  • Fabriano, Museo della Carta e della Filigrana - Fabriano
      Fabriano, Museo della Carta e della Filigrana
    by Trekki
  • Fabriano, one of the old hydraulic hammer mills - Fabriano
      Fabriano, one of the old hydraulic hammer mills
    by Trekki
  • Fabriano, old paper making machine - Fabriano
      Fabriano, old paper making machine
    by Trekki
  • Fabriano, Paper Museum - the friendly staff :-) - Fabriano
      Fabriano, Paper Museum - the friendly staff :-)
    by Trekki
  • Fabriano's paper logo today - you might see it - Fabriano
      Fabriano's paper logo today - you might see it
    by Trekki

.. e della filigrana (which is the full name of this museum).
When it comes to pilgrimages, Christians go to the Vatican, Muslims go to Mecca, Buddhists would go to Tibet if it would still exist (and not be massacred by Dragonland) and I go to the cradles of ?industrialisation? or origins of handicrafts. So I was thrilled to learn that Fabriano was a very important centre of paper making in the old days and is the cradle of the watermark, which was invented here in 1287. Most logical that there is a museum which is dedicated entirely to paper making and the watermark. This museum was definitely one of the highlights of my central Italy trip in April 2008 and I will definitely come again.
It is located in the cloister of the adjacent Chiesa del Sacro Cuore in the south of town and seems to be very busy all year long. While I was there (twice), masses of schoolkids were there to learn about paper making. And the employees of the museum are very much dedicated to their exhibits and the history of this magnificent artwork. They speak many languages so you can get tours in English, German, French and Spanish as well.

The museum has all the old traditional equipment including a hydraulic multiple hammer mill, where the cotton fabric is transformed into the raw material for the paper paste. It is fascinating when they start to operate this mill ? 3x3 wooden hammers hit the fabric in slightly different tacts to tear it into pieces and then later into the raw cotton fibres (photographing inside is not allowed, but photo 2 is a similar mill, with only one hammer). The paper paste is then constantly refilled and stirred in huge basins and each group gets a demonstration of how the paper is dipped on the old screens ? a masterful skill this is! The workers dip 2 sheets, which are then put on felt and when enough sheets have been made, the stack is being pre-dried in a press. For further drying they are hanged on a specific drying equipment. Now you can imagine that there is a huge daily output of handmade paper, and this all goes into the museum workshops where three very much skillful artists make the most magnificent things, which can be purchased in the big shop.

But the museum is not only about paper making but also about the invention and development of watermarks. On the upper floor they have a huge exhibition of all kinds of watermarks which were designed and made here, mostly for rulers of the different countries in Europe and overseas and also some of the first banknotes that were made with watermarks as a security feature. Another exhibition describes the steps in development of watermarks, how the picture is engraved in a thick wax plate, how the positive and negative moulds were made and how they have been used to create three-dimensional watermarks.
In the basement?s courtyard are exhibits of other machines and equipment and a very extensive description of paper history and of course Fabriano?s history in this context, featuring Miliani ?s paper empire.

I can highly recommend to visit this museum and if you have similar interests like me, it is easy to spend one full day there. The employees will answer every question you might have and the shop is divine!!

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m.
Entrance fees: 5,30 ? (adults), 4,20 ? (student groups), children under 6 are free.
(there is a combination ticket available for Pinacoteca ? see further on ? and the Museo della Carta, which reduces the entrance fee).

What must be fascinating as well, but only with prior notice, are workshops on traditional paper making. These are held over 3-5 days (daily 2,5 hours) and cost only 16,50 ? per day. Well, there is always a next time and I will definitely go back to Fabriano.

I?ve described the watermarks in a separate tip in the general section:
oh holy watermark

Address: Largo Fratelli Spacca, 2 I-60044 Fabriano (AN)
Directions: In the southwest of town, leave SS76 where the signs for the museum is.
Coordinates on GoogleEarth:
43°20?00,80??N; 12°54?13,53??E

othercontact: info@museodellacarta.com
Phone: +39 - 0732 -709297
Website: http://www.museodellacarta.com/default.asp?lang=eng

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 17, 2009
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