The Florence Files:  Layers- putting on Medici Clothing
Recreating 16th Century Florentine and Tuscan  Clothing and Lifestyle

Florence Files

Though specifically Elizabethan, this serves to show the many, many layers of Renaissance Dressing. From Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d (p 111), in an account by Peter Erondell, on the dressing of Lady Ri-Mellaine:
Call my Taylor to bring my gowne, ........ Shall I hve no Vardingale?... Do you not see that I want my buske" What has become of the buske-poynt? ....... The final touches are by neckwear, purse, clean handkerchief, gloves (it is too warm for a muff), mask, fan, ‘chayne of pearls’, and girdle with these items in a case hanging from it: scissors, pincers, pen-knife, a knife to close letters, bodkin, ear-picker, and seal. Then as the ruff is too soiled, a rebato of cutworke edged .

(Drawers or breeches)

Extant examples of women's drawers can be found in Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd . A History of Underclothes has an Italian extant example. Both appear to be from the late 16th century. Pictorial representations such as Pierto Bertelli's Cortigiana Veneza (Venetian courtesan) can be found in Diversarum Nationum Habitus , 1591 (V&A Museum) & 1594-1596 ( Banca dati Biblioteca Riccardiana ). From Hispanic Costuming 1480-1520 *, drawers were mentioned in the 1479 inventory of Duchess of Alburqurque (linen with white silk cords). Queen Juana had drawers lined with fur. Yellow drawers of satin, trimmed with strips of cloth of silver belonged to the Empress. Drawers were used in Spain before England or France. Lucrezia Borgia made drawers fashionable in Italy (Ferarra). It cannot be assumed that all Italian women wore drawers. One would have to look to individual inventories.Commonly they could be made of linen
The Guardaroba of Eleanora d' Toledo records a pair of crimson tafetta breeches.
Kat's Drawers.htm

Camicia -

What Lies Beneath- Florence  Underpinnings of the 16thC. 
Extant Underpinnings of Florence and Tuscany  examples
Florence underpinnings   - 1540 getting dressed

Handmade Linen Camicia
Pomegranite Camicia

Florentine camicia based on extant example in Prato (Tuscany)

Nets covering shoulders.

Partlet -

Maria Medici partlet
Kat's Partlet.htm
16thC Florentine Partlet Documentation (sewing/embroidery)


(night) slippers
Pantosole: *
slippers, chopines,

Calandrelli - wooden Pattens
wooden platform shoes (made from zocco - block of wood)*

and Chopines:

girdle or 
Cintolini*/Cinte de gamba:
garters or little girdles*/ garters

Keeping Yer Legges Warme
Kat's New Stockings - new pattern

Calandrelli (Pattens) 15thC. 

Kat's Zoccoli.htm

Corset / breast taping,

Fasce da stomaco:
stomach band -

What Lies Beneath- Florence  Underpinnings of the 16thC. 

Maria d'Medici underbodies.htm

Mid 16thC Stays based on Extant Burial Stays

Petticoats, later worn as gown
skirt & Underskirts

Kat's Underskirt

Gamurra/ Sottana
(underdress or petticoat, sometimes worn as gown)

gown with sleeves (decorated) worn over petticoat or skirts.

Eleanor d' Toledo,  *2005

Maria's Toile for Gamurra *2005
Linen Sottana with Period Contruction Techniques
Pale Sottana - period construction techniques
Florentine 1540-1555 remade*2007

Maria d'Cosimo (Medici) Veste/ overgown. *2005

Baragoni & Maniche
puff sleeves and sleeves (general)

(leather)* jerkin


Florentine Sleeves 1500-1550



Kat's Mid 16thC Florentine Guibone *2007


Neckwear - pearls

Scuffia, Balzo

Headwear - hairtaping with ribbons (redine)

beret, cap or bonnet*


ring-shaped roll (padded) sometimes with false hair.

Florentine HeadWrap/ Turban  *UPDATE* 3/06:
Italian Hair Pages *UPDATED*
Hair Taping 
Hair RollsL: How to 
baretta - Stonehenge competition

Pillbox cap

Accessories -

Soccaccia -portable pocket
Guanti - gloves
Borsetta - purse.
Manichino - muff
Cinta - girdle.

portable pocket (tasca), purse (borsetta), handkerchief, gloves (guanti), bracelets (manicelle), muff (manichino), fan, necklace (collana/ collanella - neckchain)*, girdle (cinta) and girdle accessories. Accessories, like the clothing itself, was subject to fashion. Sometimes bracelets were in vogue, sometimes not. The best way to accessorise your garb is to look at contemporary portraits of the time you are interested in.

pouchworkshop.htm & Kat's pouch diary & workshop.htm
Soccaccia - portable pocket/ pouch *NEW 2007*
Girdle of Maria d' Medici  2005
fans: Pictures in portraits and extant examples - general Italian.
Feather Fan diary   NEW 11/2007*
Gloves - Italian early 1500's and DOCO
Accessories: Earrings  NEW 8/07

Zimarra, Roba , Manteo,Manto:
turkish-style overgown, loose over gown, long cloaks (with/without collars),

Mantellina :
little loose mantlet worn over womens gowns */ cloak 'for the neck' and 'for the shoulders'.

short Dutch Cloak, short spanish coat (also hood or cowl)

Camiciola/ Camisciuola*
knitted jacket./ little waistcoat

Kat's Zimarra  mid 1500's  2006

Mantellino - shoulder cape from Florence.
Kat's First Mantellina 2006

Cappotto: Dutch Cloak Diary.   2007


  • Alcega, Juan.The Tailor's Pattern Book, 1589 Facimile, Ruth Bean, Carlton, Bedford, 1979.
  • Arnold Janet, Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd, Maney, Leeds, 1988, ISBN:0-901286-20-6
  • Arnold, Janet Patterns of Fashion, MacMillan, London, 1985. ISBN: 0-333-38284-6 
  • Frick, Carole Collier. Dressing Renaissance Florence.: Families Fortunes & Clothing. John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 2002. ISBN: 0-8018-6939-0
  • Kovesi Killerby, Catherine, Sumptuary Law in Italy 1200-1500, Oxford University Press. NY. 2002. ISBN:0-19-924793-5 .
  • L'Abito della Granduchessa; Vesti di corte di Madonne nel Palazzo Reale di Pisa. Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale, Pisa. 
  • Orsi Landini, Roberta & Niccoli, Bruna. La Moda a Firenze 1540-1580. Pagliai Polistampa, Firenze, 2005. ISBN: 88-8304-867-9
  • Veccellio, Cesare. Vecellio's renaissance Costume Book. Dover Publications. NY. 1977. ISBN: 0 48623441X
  • Greg Lindahl's Renaissance Dance website:  Florio's 1598 Italian/English Dictionary: A WORLD of Words   *
  • Festive Attyre:
  • Medici Archive Project:  (1/06)
  • Archive of Stitches from Extant Textiles.
© K Carlisle. 2005-2008

All intellectual content, original photos and layout are copyright to La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia (K Carlisle), except those original renaissance artworks and extant articles whose copyright remains with the current owner.
If you would like to use something from this site, please contact me, and cite this website reference.

(c). K.Carlisle, 2008.


All intellectual content, original photos and layout are copyright to La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia (K Carlisle), except those original renaissance artworks and extant articles whose copyright remains with the current owner.
If you would like to use something from this site, please contact me, and cite this website reference.

(c). K.Carlisle, 2008.