Projects and Science

Italy with Sardinia


Italy, spindle
Wooden bottom-whorl-spindle with sheet metal hook from San Nicandro Garganico, a town in Foggia, Apulia region, Southeast Italy. Length 9,84"; whorl diameter 1,81".



Greek spindle whorls

It is similar to Greek spindles as South Italy is influenced by Greek traditions. Only the whorl is different. It is sculptured perfectly rounded, a feature never seen in Greek whorls.



Italy, Lombardy, spindle
Spindle from Lombardy. Wood. 19th century.  Length: 11".
Italy, Apulia, spindles
Spindles with wooden whorl and iron hook from Apulia. Lengths: 10.6" and 8.26". Whorl diameter (both): 1.6". Carving marks at the top of the (otherwise turned) spindle shaft of the shorter spindle suggest that it may have been broken, shortened and again provided with an iron hook.
Italy, Cuneo
Wooden spindles from Cuneo (Coni in Piedmontese) in Piedmont, c. 1900-1910. Lengths: 10.62" and 12.79". These spindles from the north-west of Italy are influenced by French spindle forms (the Piedmont is adjacent to France), but also by spindles from the Balkan (Bulgaria, Romania).

Spindle from the Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Piedmont. Length: 11.9".

Double-whorl-spindle with metal hook from Bannatella, Sicily. Length of the spindle: 13" (with hook); whorl diameters: 1.8" and 2.5".
Italien, Enna
Wooden spindle with bone and wood whorls with metal hook from Enna, Sicily. 18th century. Length (with hook): 8.6”. Diameter of the wood whorl: 1.3”; Dm. Bone whorls: 1”.
Italien, Marken
Spindle turned from one piece of wood with metal hook from Fermo, Marche region. Length: 11.8“.
Italy, Piedmont, spindle rack
Triangular spindle rack (Ital. porta fusi) from Carrù (Cuneo province, Piedmont) with 20 spindles of light and dark wood. 19th century. Spindle rack: length of base = 19.88", height = 20", length of the side pieces = 22.44". Length of spindles: 9" to 12.6".

France, woman spinning, spindle rack

An old French postcard shows an elderly woman spinning. Beside her on the table there is a spindle rack with nineteen more spindles.

More on the page for France.


Italy, shoemaker´s spindle

Italy, shoemaker´s spindle, detail

Heavy, iron wire or shoemaker´s spindle with central whorl and twisted shaft. The spindle shaft seems to be broken at the lower end. The ring-shaped spindle whorl is decorated on both sides with two rows of dots. In some dots are remains of gold inlay (or gold-colored inlay) (Detailed picture with two microscope images with 50x and 235x magnification). Weight: 406.20 g (14.32 oz.); preserved length: 16.14"; whorl diameter: 4.52".

horizontal iron spindle.gif


It is possible that this spindle was once mounted horizontally (see image).


Italy, Naples, Woman spinning, double-whorl
Stereoscopic card showing a woman from Naples spinning with a double-whorl-spindle, c. 1900.

Italy, Torre Pellice, women spinning

Women spinning wool in the small commune of Torre Pellice in the Province of Turin in the Italian region Piedmont. c. 1907-1915. Torre Pellice was the capital of the three historic Waldensian valleys (Val Pellice, Val Chisone and Valle Germanasca) and is the centre of the Waldensian church.


Italy, Friuli, woman spinning with drop spindle
Woman from Carnico, Province of Udine, region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, spinning with a drop spindle. 1936.


Italy, Scanno, Abruzzo, woman spinning
Woman from Scanno in the Abruzzo (Southern Italy) spinning with a bottom-whorl-spindle.
Italy, woman spinning, 1870s
Woman spinning with a double-whorl-spindle. Photo by Georgio Conrad, Naples. 1870´s.



Italy, Civiasco, woman spinning
Frau aus Civiasco beim Spinnen. Valsesia, Provinz Vercelli, Region Piemont.


Italy, Sardinia, woman spinning
Postcard made out of cork from Orgosolo, Sardinia. Woman with top-whorl-spindle. The spindle is brought to speed by rubbing up the thigh.
Italy, Naples, woman spinning
Neapel – Italienerin mit Fußspindel und kurzem Spinnrocken.

Burcai, Sardinien
Burcei, Cagliari Province, Sardinia – spinning with a double-whorl spindle.

  Images from a YouTube-video.
To watch the video see here:
YouTube, Laura e Lucia Melis, Burcei - Filare e tessere la lana


Map of Italy with the points of origin of spindles, postcards and videos.

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