The Three Sisters in Naples
A 3rd generation of hand crafted umbrellas
Naples May 2015: It was another national holiday and to avoid the massive crowds on Via Toledo, I detoured down the side street of the Spanish district. You step back in time on these side streets and into the lives of the Italians who live here. There is laundry flapping overhead, the corner Madonna shrine has dried flowers and electric candles, the local merchants have their stands half way into the street and Vespas weave among the pedestrians.
On such a street I discovered the Three Sisters who now manage A.Talarico’s. At first I was not going to enter this small local store until I saw the umbrellas. Hung from the ceilings, lining the walls, umbrellas in designs I had never seen and others that were hand painted. Everywhere you look there is another design to catch your attention.
Olga, Monica and Maria were all working in the store and greeted me warmly, trying to understand my very limited Italian. I was shown many of their finest umbrellas, each a work of art. Until I returned to my computer I did not realize I had visited a family business dating from 1860’s, creating handmade umbrellas! A. Talarico’s has been hand crafting umbrellas for 3 generations.
In an age when everything is mass produced A. Talarico’s “umbrellas are entirely hand fabricated using hardwoods or cane for the shafts and fabrics made in Italy” for the canopy.1 Handles are simple or elaborate carved woods, bone ivory or silver.
I asked Monica who paints the wonderful artwork on the umbrellas:
“My sister Mary was inspired by the deep love of our beautiful country and especially of our magnificent city of Naples, in fact, most of the themes of her creations are based on characters and landscapes that represent our beloved Naples.”
Has anyone asked to learn the technique of hand made umbrelllas?
“While (he was) still alive, my father had a request from a German girl who wanted to learn from him as she was building an umbrella.
Today we have not, however, the new generation of apprentices, Monica’s daughters, Barbara and Francesca, have inherited the gene and aunt Maria’s artistic attempt to paint on scarves “
Hand painted designs make each umbrella a one of a kind.
The sisters are now the design and marketing force for the business, after the passing of their father.
In addition to umbrellas they have a wonderful selection of handbags. All crafted in Italy, selecting one was a difficult choice. Their non pressure sales approach was a welcome change from the techniques of the street market vendors.
The quality of a Talarico umbrella has been praised online by several fashion editors and other writers. On my next visit I hope to take a closer look at theworkmanship. According to one article “these umbrellas feature an ‘unshaved’ staff and distinctive handles. All the umbrellas are finished with polished horn tips.2
The cramped quarters only allows for a very small space for the work bench. The shop also carries silk scarves, stoles, small leather accessories. If you don’t need an umbrella, visit the Three Sisters to select a handbag. Prices and styles are impressive and they offer a range of colors within each model.
The cramped quarters only allow for a very small space for the work bench.
The shop also carries silk scares, stoles, small leather accessories.
Vico Due Porte a Toledo 38/40