Panizza1879, a great family tradition. The company was founded in 1879 in Ghiffa on the shores of Lake Maggiore thanks to a small factory founded by Giovanni Panizza and Natale Gamba. Since then, the production of Panizza hats has never stopped and has continued for 140 years with the same passion and the same artisan tradition.
Made in Italy style and elegance for 140 years
A myth for me who has always been passionate about hats. I have loved them since I was a child and it is truly the realization of a dream to wear a Panizza and become an ambassador of the most prestigious brand in Italy, a symbol of elegance and style in the world.
Each Panizza hat, made entirely by hand and with the highest quality materials, is unique. And everyone is irresistible! My choice, however, was made, so to speak, obligatory. In fact, my faithful companion next season will become Bon Voyage, Panizza’s iconic Fedora rollable Trilby. Designed for travelers, this hat is a must for all those who like me on the road like to be practical but without ever giving up on style.
Made of high-quality, water-repellent felt, it has a simple design that allows you to fold it back on itself and stop it on one side, taking place in a large bag and, if necessary, in a pocket. Perfect isn’t it?
But it is not only the love for hats and travel that has made our paths cross. Panizza has had a particular mascot since 1879: the jack russel Léon. In short, there are so many points of contact because even in our path we have never lacked a four-legged friend, first Arturo for sixteen years next to us and for three years Otto, a nice Bernese Mountain Dog.
And, continuing by affinity, the passion for things done well: since its birth in 1879 the Panizza has always made a point of honor of manual talent.The attention to detail and the precision with which each phase is carried out make Panizza hats creations capable of lasting over time. Because a Panizza stands out not only for its elegance and quality but also for its ability to be the hat suitable for any occasion, which rests on the head naturally.
The creation of a hat is done by hand in every step and from start to finish it is always the same hands that accompany it: it can take up to 90 different steps to create a hat! Which is born and grows as a creature thanks to the experience and unique ability of the craftsmen who have worked for the company for generations.
Like Stefano Scapecchi, Hatter Master son of art, who runs the hat factory together with his young son Simone, and Laura Gamba, the fifth generation of the Gamba family, who takes care of the marketing management of the brand. While Gianpaolo Gamba is the one who embodies and carries on the spirit of the company, as handed down to him by his father.
And beyond people there is the conscious choice of raw materials and accessories, the result of a careful selection of the range, as well as production processes that are as environmentally sustainable as possible. Because right from the start, when the headquarters in Ghiffa on Lake Maggiore where the Museo del Cappello is now located, one of the fundamental elements of Panizza’s production values is that of guaranteeing respect for nature, an irreplaceable element for humanity as well as a constant source of inspiration. The rabbit felt comes only from the reuse of fur scraps from food animal farms, while the beaver felt from suppliers who guarantee hair from animals selected for American and Canadian selective killing for the preservation of beaver habitats. The wool is also collected and felted in Portugal and is museling free: the Panizza are the first 100% cruelty free hats in the world.
And regarding the inspiration, since 1981, with the transfer of production in Tuscany to Montevarchi, this has merged with the surrounding area, that of the Italian region which par excellence is the symbol of craftsmanship and beauty.
A little bit of Italian pride doesn’t hurt. And the affinity is made up of generational stories, inherited values: since 1959 in Montevarchi, the Falcus hat factory has been one of the main producers of fine high-end hats. Also in this case, unity is strength.
Now we just have to proudly wear our Fedora chosen in a beautiful Steelblu shade, but not before having explored how a Panizza hat is made.
The first phase is that of informing: a felt or straw chapel, also called a cloche, is moistened with steam and molded to the shape of the hat chosen in aluminum or wood, which corresponds to a different size. The hat is then modeled according to the chosen style and, once cooled, it will take its final shape. The second operation is called circling: after the shape of the head it is necessary to outline that of the wing, also called tense. Before being placed under hot sandbags to give it its shape, it is stretched and then skillfully hand-cut on wooden circles. This is the fundamental step that defines the true character of the hat. The curiosity? The folding of the brim is also called “snap” due to the reference to the noise that once made the wing when folding it.
The third phase is that of the garnish in which the desired accessories are applied between ribbons in silk, leather or gros-grain, while the inside of the hat is garnished with a stretch that is also called Moroccan; a padded leather or cotton band that guarantees greater breathability and softness in the fit. The name comes from the fact that it originally came from Morocco, an area of excellence for leather processing.
The last is that of the finish in which each Panizza hat is carefully checked and then polished with a few drops of vegetable oil. One last brush and refreshed under the steam and the hat is ready to be carefully packed and sent to meet its soulmate.
But Panizza, even if its hats are waterproof and will never lose their shape if well preserved, certainly won’t leave you alone after purchase! Meanwhile, on the site you will find videos with some practical advice on how to keep your Panizza always in shape. For example, how to dry it away creates sources of heat if it gets wet from the rain, how to get the “snap” back into shape by swinging it a little while holding the wing with two fingers and how to clean it using a soft brush. But in case you need to “get back in shape”, don’t worry, the craftsmen specialized in their “clinic” will take care of your hat and it will be as good as new.