Mario Talarico is something of a legend in Naples. Well into his 80’s, he can still be found behind his workbench in a small alley off of Naples’s Spanish District crafting some of the finest handmade umbrellas in the world. This fourth-generation artisan workshop still makes their umbrellas completely by hand using the traditional techniques handed down over generations.
Talarico is a true artisan – each umbrella is individually crafted and totally unique. And such is our collection. Every umbrellas is crafted one-of-one and you practically have to go to Naples in person to purchase these, as I did in June 2013.
Because every umbrella is literally unique, each was personally hand-selected by me and then photographed and loaded onto our website individually. I almost went crazy after loading 22 discrete umbrellas at the same time. However, these umbrellas are such works of art it was worth it.
As you can see, Talarico’s storefront is incredibly discrete. One could easily pass it by thinking it a cheap umbrella store without realizing that one of the world’s oldest and greatest umbrella makers is quietly working away inside.
Occupying their original storefront, Talarico began to occupy adjacent storefronts as they grew. The result is an non-contiguous, hodgepodge that has evolved over the years. Each small shop is overflowing with umbrellas, leaving almost no room to work.
However, Talarico does not need much room to work, as he employs the same methods to construct his umbrellas today as his great-grandfather did in the 19th Century. Mario Talarico Sr. is the third-generation, with his nephew apprenticing as the fourth.
I was immediately struck by the authenticity at Talarico’s workshop. The fact that none of it seems to make sense with it’s reputation somehow makes it even more authentic. In this day-in-age where anyone can market to the world through the internet, Talarico still somehow maintains the ethos of a small, local artisan who can only be found and accessed in person. The above photograph is of Talarico’s workbench, which he claims is almost 300 years old. The workshop is so small, Talarico had to cut a hole in the wall just to have enough room to work with his canes.
I have known about Talarico for years. But as you can see from their website, one cannot easily order directly from them. It was only after a last-minute trip to Naples that I had the opportunity to visit Talarico personally. And it was only by visiting him personally that I was able to purchase umbrellas for The Hanger Project.
The Hanger Project collection of Talarico umbrellas were hand selected by me personally on our trip.
The Talarico Difference
We have carried Maglia Francesco umbrellas for years, and they make absolutely fantastic umbrellas. I am a big fan of Maglia — they make incredible umbrellas and are easy to transact with. Talarico, on the other hand, also makes fantastic umbrellas. But unlike Maglia which is really a company, Talarico is almost a one-man show. He is a small artisan quietly working away in his workshop.
Below are some of the primary differences that really separate Talarico umbrellas from everything else.
1. Unshaven, Solid-Stick Canes
Because Talarico essentially works by himself for himself, he is afforded greater latitude with his work. And this latitude has allowed Talarico to spend more time with the canes of his umbrellas than anyone else. Whereas Maglia purchases their canes from another artisan in Milan, Talarico forges all his canes himself. And he is the only umbrella maker who creates solid-stick umbrellas with unshaven shafts. These single-piece shafts showcase the bark of the wood all the way through the cane. Only one out of 10 raw canes are perfect enough to enable this construction.
Click the images to enlarge
2. Mother-of-Pearl Button Fastener
Instead of a traditional button-snap closure, Talarico uses a mother-of-pearl button with an embroidered ring. This detail is insignificant, but important. For one, the MOP button closure is just classier. But the embroidered ring decreases wear since there is no metal-on-thread.
3. Horn Tip
All of Talarico’s umbrellas are finished with a polished-horn tip. Again, another small detail that separates Talarico’s umbrellas from everyone else.
Talarico Umbrellas are works of art. Click here to view our entire selection of Talarico Umbrellas.