The human being has always needed to protect his head from extreme cold and heat. Probably at the beginning he used furs or large sleeves. Then when he learned how to assembly and weave vegetable and animal fibers, he made the first large brimmed hats.
Rye and wheat farmed for food, grasses and swamp plants gave the straw and other materials to make hats. Hats that keep their unchanged basic structure since millenniums.
As far as their making is concerned, in the sixteenth century Tuscany, the production was so perfect that the Grand Duke Cosimo I, sent many hats to the various sovereigns in Europe, as a gift.
But it was only at the beginning of the eighteenth century, in Signa, a small town nearby Florence, that people started to grow the wheat not for food, but to get the straw for making hats. Thanks to this revolutionary initiative the Florentine area became the first producer of straw hats in the Western world.
Famous worldwide as “Leghorns”, because boarded at Leghorn Port, the Florentine hats in their infinite versions, with their extremely faint braids, became a distinctive element, first for women and then for men.
The town of Signa and its surroundings still have many prestigious hat makers that now use different materials, natural and artificial , that allow new, trendy solutions.