Okay, so this isn't Needlework per se, however it is Italian and stitching-related so I'm bending my own rules already. Also, I guess I should have started my alphabetical listing with this one... but hey, I'm new to this and not quite as organized as I'd like.
Aquila Bobbin Lace, or Tombolo Aquilano originates in the surrounds of Aquila, Italy. I've been thinking about them a lot lately as it's been almost a year since the devastating earthquake of April 6, 2009. The press seems to have forgotten all about those people living in tents, but I haven't.
The tales of Aquila lace date back to the 1490s when Queen Isabella, the wife of King Ferdinand I of Naples visited the city and greatly admired the particular beauty of the local lace. Since Elisa Ricci tells us in her Old Italian Lace (1913) that the first signs of lace are in frescoes at San Gimignano dating to about 1465, then perhaps it's possible that Aquila lace is indeed so ancient. In any case the beauty of this lace is undeniable. It is classified as a continuous filament lace worked in very fine linen or silk thread. It can be worked with a great number of bobbins, adding and subtracting as the work continues. With the 'ancient stitch' patterns of alphabets, butterflies, flowers and ribbons can be made, while with the 'new stitch' (created in the 19th century) geometrical designs are created.
You can see some examples of this lace here:
click on the images for a closer look.
Some pictures of both ancient stitch [punto antico] and new stitch [punto nuovo] can be seen here at Le Mani d'Oro [Hands of Gold].
You can read more about Elisa Ricci at the Italian Embroidery website Tuttoricamo, click on the British flag for the English pages and look under 'prominent characters'.