Fashion and Wine: a toast together with the Palladio Cappelleria

Our hats are handcrafted, all handmade in Italy and high-quality

In a few days, in the XIX Century started the adventure of the Palladio Hat Shop, in the city center of Vicenza, close to the beautiful Piazza dei Signori. Everything began with a great-great grandfather of the Roviaro’s family which, since four generations, has been running this precious shop, entirely dedicated to one of the most chic outfit accessories.

The entrepreneurial hat shop business has a Story with the capital S, as Mr. Martino tells us: “In 1899 the great-great grandfather owned a hat counter in the little square across the street; he passed it on to his father Ferruccio who, after the First World War, purchased a first shop.

Mom Antonia turned everything around by adopting a more commercial approach: in the 60s and 70s Antonia and his dad Santo increased the space and the suppliers, giving birth to brand new colorful articles, beyond the more traditional black and white ones.

Discover the shop:

Then it was your turn to move the business forward. It wasn’t a quick entry, was it?

I am the last of four brothers. They chose a different path and, after my bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science, I also had started working as agronomist in France and Kenya. When I was in my 40s I felt the need to go back to the same passion I had as a child, when I used to help out mum and dad in the shop.

Has your previous working experience been useful?

Yes, fundamental. Travelling and working in a company allowed me to bring into the shep a new vision. When I came back there was no warehouse inventory; I introduced the social media tools, now a days they are essential. I have been organising events, such as wine tastings and exhibitions of hats, originally from the area, to positively contaminate the business

Hats are very elegant accessories, but it looks like they are being worn less and less. How do you cope with this trend?

It’s not true that they have fallen into disuse; the hat business goes in cycles, and much depends on unforeseeable events: for instance, boys want the Irish hats they have seen on the Netflix series “Peaky Blinders”, while girls ask for the bowler hat that Cara Delevingne wore at the wedding of Eugenie of York.

Is the top hat still in use?

Sure it is. Magicians and coachmen still buy it from us; moreover, close to Vicenza there are two American military bases and these people always wear one for their weddings.

What are the peculiarities of the hats that can be found in your shop?

Our hats are handcrafted, they come from Italy or from countries historically known for their hat production. In a nutshell, they are all handmade, high-quality, not artificial hats: in summer we use straw, silk and cotton; in winter, wool, cachemire and felts. These materials combine elegance and practicality.

What do you mean, when you talk of elegant hat?

I refer to a stylish hat that is never too striking. Fashion goes, style remains. A nice hat of the 50s never goes out of style, not even in 100 years. Moreover, a hat needs to be paired with the outfit, and, most importantly, it needs to fit with one’s face shape. And I will never push someone to buy a hat that doesn’t look good on that face.

How much of Vicenza is part of your story?

Everything. In the olden days in Vicenza there were seventeen hat shops, and today there’s the Straw Museum. The Cappelleria Palladio (Palladio hat shop) and the city of Vicenza are one thing, not only because of what the city gave us, but also because of what we, in our own small way, gave to the city. Many times I hear people saying: “My grandpa owned one of your hats”, or “My aunt used to come here all the times”, “My mum was wearing one of your veils at her marriage”. Everyone knows our shop, it’s the oldest accessories shop of the entire city.

What can you tell me about the value of family?

Family is everything. The passion for this job was passed on genetically, together with commitment and a few tears. But we are still here, more than 120 years afterwards.

Let’s uncork a bottle and toast to a dream

I’d like to make a toast to the sons of family businesses like me who, in times of big changes, manage to carry on the tradition with dedication, energy and love.

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