The unusual history of the company, “Raffaello Bettini s.r.l”, unfolds over a century, touching the coasts of two continents and has the shape and flavor of a multifaceted, fascinating family saga. A long-lasting and happy partnereship forms the backbone of the firm’s current manager, Giovanni Papini. He is heir to a tradition dating back to the Oreste Cinelli hatworks, founded in Signa in 1886.
The town was one of the most important production centers in Tuscany, thanks mostly to the entrepreneurship of Raffaello Bettini – Giovanni’s grandfather and a nephew of the founder – a pioneer who opened a branch office in Puerto Rico as far back as 1932, and who created the business which bears his name in 1938. The other protagonist of this family alliance is Alessandra Fantacci, Giovanni Papini’s wife since 1977 and the stylistic heart of the company. She is the great-granddaughter of Ulderigo Fantacci, who was heir to another famous historical hat factory: Felice Marinesi & Co, founded in 1875.
The artisanal tradition of straw-work seems written in both partners’ DNA. This is a genuinely successful business, in which the intense work of exporting the product onto the main foreign markets in Europe and the USA goes hand in hand with the introduction of a winter line of hand-made scarves and gloves, the launch of a line of hats and feminine accessories under the “bettina®” label, and the latest additon, a collection of men’s hats under the “Raffaello Bettini” label.
This firm weaves artisanry and innovation together and is driven by the unsurpassed synergy generated by family ties.