Christmas gifts for our family members have often been wool or cashmere sweaters purchased at the outlet store at Novella Confezioni, in the valley below Assisi:
Today, Pino stopped at the nearby alimentari (grocery store) of Ristorante Da Giovanni to pick up a gift, dropped off there by Monia Mancinelli, daughter of Novella (founder of Novella Confezioni): two protective masks.
Monia designs her own creations in wool, cashmere, silk and linen which used to be sold in the outlet adjacent to the factory where fifty employees worked. In pre-coronavirus days.
In the factory, a brigade of forty-six textile machines once whirled away to fill in the orders commissioned by big names in Italian fashion with Monia’s brothers, Francesco and Domenico, programming the designs.
Many visiting friends – and guests staying in our Assisi countryside apartments – have purchased creations in wool, cashmere, silk, and linen at Novella Confezioni, delighted by the excellent quality – and amazingly reasonable prices. Often Monia’s young assistants were there serving clients as Monia was generally in the adjacent knitwear factory, perhaps working on new designs…
….but now and then, Monia herself was there to give guidance, make suggestions:
If you could drop in to Novella Confezioni these days, you’d find the outlet store closed and just four or five workers in masks, gloves and protective suits at the knitwear machines in the adjacent factory. Only two machines now whir: programmed to produce masks, not sweaters, coats, scarves, and skirts for top fashion houses in northern Italy: the Italian government has put a halt to the manufacturing of prodotti non essenziali until April 3rd “…e poi si vedra‘….'” (“and then we will see”).
In the office, Monia’s brother, Francesco might be at the computer working on mask designs…..
….or programming a knitwear machine:
Monia could be working on designs or sewing masks.
….while their workers are folding them:
….or ironing them:
The Umbrian newspapers have written articles about Monia and her two brothers and Francesco had explained the transformation of their production in a telephone interview, “We did this for our employees and their families, feeling the need to put in far more than our usual daily commitment to our work.”
Their first production resulted in five hundred masks for employees and their families – given gratuitously.
Monia left this declaration for the newspaper article: “We thank all our employees who have been working at the knitwear machines in gloves, masks and protective outfits for the past ten days. After three days of a lot of work and endless trials, we’ve succeeded in creating a comfortable product made with certified STANDARD 100 di OEKO-TEX® materials (a label known worldwide for textiles tested for toxicity and synonymous with maximum security of the product).”
Novella Confezioni has now given away over 1500 masks to folks in the home for the elderly, police (on roads and highways and patrolling towns, checking authorization of anyone out), and health care personnel.
Monia told me that their mask are white, gray, blue…….
..and some are in perky, bright colors:
Monia’s brother, Domenico, has been pushing for nearly two weeks for the necessary laboratory testing to validate their masks as DM (dispositivo medico chirurgico – “for medical/surgical use“) or as DPI (dispositivo di protezione individuale – “for individual protection use”).
Let us hope that the qualification comes soon….
According to legislation announced by Prime Minister Conte on March 22nd (effective at once), “Italy will close its factories and all production that is not absolutely essential, an enormous economic sacrifice intended to contain the virus and protect lives.”
Monia told me that textile industries were allowed an extension – but Novella Confezioni must close tomorrow, March 27th.
As of today, the Mancinelli family is not sure that even mask production can continue at Novella Confezioni.
We’re grateful to have our masks: mille grazie to all at Novella Confezioni.
When I called Monia with my grazie, I told her that ironically, my New Yorker had arrived today, too,…..
……and that unlike the gentleman on the cover, I knew how to put on my mask.
I sent her these photos to show her:
The days roll on in lockdown but writing on this blog is always pleasurable diversion for me.
Even if the subject might be coronavirus-related, putting together the note (and taking the photos) always wards off a CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack).May reading this accomplish the same for you.
Read here about a snowy day in Umbria during our coronavirus lockdown
Cook away a possible CPA – with this simple recipe for a buonissima pasta dish
Click here for another easy recipe to ward off CPA
Click here for a recipe of Pino’s mamma, Signora Vincenza (also helps ward off CPA)
Click here for another “coronavirus lockdown” recipe
Read here about an outdoor market visit to ward off a CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack)
Click here to read about Novella’s vegetable stand during the coronavirus lockdown
Read about new life on our land during the coronavirus lockdown.
Read about how reflecting on Van Gogh helped me see the beauty all around – in simple, insignificant objects
Click here to read about – and see! – a favorite Orvieto eating spot (to ward off CPA)
Read about – and see! – Assisi during coronavirus lockdown
Read about a Pino feast on March 8th as coronavirus distraction
Peppa is always perfect distraction from a CPA
Read about a stop for fresh pasta to ward off a CPA