As recently as one year ago we informed our readers about the start-up of the so called “Cavaniglia’s damask Project“, which IMAGO ANTIQUA feels to be part of in some way.

Initiated by our friend Renzo Semprini, it soon became clear that the goal was going to be quite demanding, as it aimed at replicating, as accurately as possible, an original Italian silk textile dating back to the late 15th century.

After surveying all the available sources, the pattern choice fell upon the damask belonging to Don Diego Cavaniglia’s funeral doublet, a noble “condottiero” from Campania dead in Otranto in 1481, whose remains rest in the Church of San Francesco a Folloni, Montella, Province of Avellino. In the years immediately following completion of its restoration (2013), this garment has become pretty famous, both in Italy and abroad, as it actually represents a rare example of early Renaissance doublet fully wisthstanding the test of time in near mint conditions.


Damasco originale (fronte), foto P. Fabbri

The original damask on its front (picture by Paola Fabbri)


The prestigious Florentine Foundation Arte della Seta Lisio was finally engaged for the project enactment: after conducting a thorough preliminary feasibility study and once the backers of the project were spotted in a handful of scarce though ultra-motivated historical Re-enactors, scattered all over Europe, just a few weeks ago the Lisio technicians completed the production of 30 meters of ivory damask fabric on a green background (the original differs only by these colors, which were specifically requested by Mr. Semprini).

CLICKING HERE you can read all details concerning this authentic challenge, a new experience, to our knowledge, in the field, a first step to steer the textile manufacturing towards a specific need of Living History, namely the creation of a high-profile silk product, substantially free of compromise and formerly not available on the market.

Please look at the finished replica here following, shown both on the front and on the reverse side, then decide for yourself if the outcome meets or not your expectations.

Replica (fronte)

Replica (front)

Replica (retro)

Replica (reverse)


Further details – front:






Further details – reverse:

5_reverse 8_reverse 6_reverse





Apart from congratulating Mr. Semprini and the Lisio Foundation, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to those Re-enactors who made this exciting achievement possible by their valuable and irreplaceable financial contributions!


One of the aims of
IMAGO ANTIQUA Cultural Association is “enabling sinergies between operators provided with widely recognized abilities in the Re-enactment field, giving visibility to vocations and remarkable personal projects closely related to the study of 15th century history”.

Following this approach, we’d like to bring to your attention a project encouraged by a follower of our association, Mr. Renzo Semprini, a longtime re-enactor born in Emilia-Romagna and now an adopted Florentine.

For several months Mr. Semprini has been in touch with the FONDAZIONE LISIO (Lisio Foundation), headquartered in Florence, trying to give birth to a super-detailed repro of an original Italian silk textile of late 15th century.

We are talking about the damask of a doublet which was tailored more than 530 years ago, discovered on the mortal remains of a well-known Campanian “condottiere”, named Diego Cavaniglia (1453-1481).

But let’s take this step by step…

This first Lisio lab arose in 1906 thanks to its founder Giuseppe, with the aim of keeping alive the ancient traditional Italian weaving, which reached a leading position in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period; the Foundation was established much later, in 1971, with a view to supporting the enterprise both financially and in terms of research.
Lisio is still at the top of a niche manufactoring production, boasting
patiently handmande crafts achieved through ancient looms, using silk as well as gold and silver yarns.

Via B. Fortini 143 – 50125 Firenze
TEL ++39 055 6801340 / FAX ++39 055 680436
Sito web – Lingua italiana
Website – English language

At the request of Mr. Semprini, the Lisio Foundation has carried out, for the first time and all the way esclusively, a special research focused on reproducing with a mechanical loom the antique pattern of a 100% silk damask, stubbornly sticking to the historical counterpart for an excellent quality output.

The abovementioned reasearch, as well as the textile testing, proved to be fully successful.
Soon after that, despite the complex economic situation of the last years, the Foundation started
a project which specifically targets the “Living History” world, evaluating the possibility of weaving on mechanical looms accurate replicas of genuine late medieval textiles, both destined to museum displays as well as to the more demanding Re-enactors.

As a “pilot product” they so replicated the SILK DAMASK of Don Diego Cavaniglia’s funeral doublet, in its original colour, that is “ivory design on ivory background”. Here follows a picture of the finding:

Immagine gentilmente concessa da Paola Fabbri

DIEGO CAVANIGLIA’S DOUBLET   (courtesy of Paola Fabbri)

Here you can see some shots of the finished sample:

8_low 7_low 6_low


3_low 2_low 1_low

After this thriving achievement, Lisio is now ready to investigate the market interest in this particular kind of complex textiles, custom-made and exclusively made on commission.

In this case, the running goal, shared and supported by IMAGO ANTIQUA Cultural Association, is gathering a level of demand proving to be enough to start a limited length production of “Cavaniglia textile”, keeping technical characteristics as close as possible to those of the original, except in color. More specifically:

Type of textile: silk damask
Textile height: 1.40 meters (equal to 140 cm)
Textile coloursivory design on green background

Goal: minimum production of 30 meters
Selling price = 170 Euros per 1 meter (inclusive of Italian taxation)
Minimum order quantity per single buyer: 1 meter

In order to start the production, the firm is so trying to gather a number of buyers (re-enactors, amateurs, etc.) capable, all together considered, to guarantee at least the funding needed to cover the fixed manufacturing costs of the whole minimum length of 30 meters.

If you are willing to contribute to this aim, registering for the purchase of nr. 1 or more meters of “Cavaniglia textile”, only available with an ivory design on a green background, you are kindly invited to communicate your interest sending an email to Mr. Renzo Semprini, who serves as a point of contact with the Lisio Foundation: 

** Disclaimer **

There’s one thing we’d like to make perfectly clear: IMAGO ANTIQUA Cult. Ass. will not derive any gain from the aforementioned project as it has got NO relationship with the business run by the Lisio Foundation, nor holds any interest in Mr. Renzo Semprini’s sphere of action. In a nutshell, the only reason urging us to contribute to the success of this challange is the wish that, in a hopefully not too distant future, all historical re-enactors can benefit from real textile repros, without any compromise, fully suitable to the tailoring of artistocratic garments and clothing accessories because totally tracing the features shown by late medieval products.


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