On the southern outskirts of Milan, in the unraveling of long avenues, among small retail shops, trams and traffic, invisible to the eyes of heedless passers, hides one of the oldest and most prestigious workshops of Milanese craftsmanship, a jewel shamefully forgotten by the glitzy city of fashion that is just a few kilometers to the north.
The Ombrellificio Maglia exists, in its various incarnations, exactly 160 years since the forefather Francesco Maglia, just eighteen, became in 1854 a partner in a small umbrella factory in Verolanuova, in the province of Brescia. Later Francesco moved to Pavia and started his own business. In 1876, the Company moved to Milan, in Corso Genova where it remained until 2003. Today, it lives again in via Ripamonti.
Maglia is not just an ombrellificio (umbrella factory). Behind its century-long history, hides the passion of a family, the tenacity, the pursuit of excellence that today, even in tough times, have made these umbrellas not just objects to shelter one from the rain, but splendid pieces of quality, sought after from around the world (most of the Maglia production is exported). All this is due to the materials used, from the quality woods to the fabrics, produced and manufactured in Milan and in other workshops in Lombardy. The Maglia umbrellas use single piece shafts, made from natural woods such as chestnut, ash, rattan, apple, maple, bamboo and many more. The assembly is then carried out strictly by hand, thanks to the skilled hands of a few workers which today are employed at the ombrellificio. Everything, from the insertion of the mechanisms and shafts to the perfect tension of the materials, originating from the classic British style, has been meticulously controlled. The final product conveys quality even at a first simple glance. Handling these umbrellas turns an everyday gesture, almost trivial, into a new experience; solid and refined materials are quite visible and undeniable.
Maglia is not just an ombrellificio. Behind its century-long history, hides the passion of a family, the tenacity, the pursuit of excellence
The real added value of the Maglia umbrellas is, however, a hidden treasure; among the shelves overflowing with shafts, fabrics and finished umbrellas, among the shouting of an always busy shop, moving with a slow but determined step, is the 5th Francesco Maglia, called Chino, a remarkable man who has dedicated his life to the family company. Tall, with his snow-white hair and beard, Chino is a living history book, one of the last figures of Italian craftsmanship of times past. On board his car, he covers thousands of kilometers every year taking his products around Europe, because for him human contact, direct and honest with his customers, is still a value worth doing. With his brother Giorgio, Chino withstands the test of time, of changes in fashions and economic systems, as they continue writing a history of tradition that cannot and must not be disrupted.