From Venice to the Belluno Dolomites: Italy is the cradle of the eyewear industry, a land of visionary people with brilliant minds and far-sighted determination. The invention of eyewear is attributed to Venice in the second half of the thirteenth century, but the Cadore region, which had frequent cultural and commercial exchanges with Venice, deserves the merit of having understood the importance of eyewear, giving a strong impulse to its manufacture and industrialization in what is now known to all as the Cadore Eyewear District.
The work and sacrifices of a handful of founding fathers who gave impetus to the birth of the first eyewear factories in the Dolomite valleys continued with the subsequent transfer of knowledge to the workers in these valleys who were able to take advantage of what they learned, bringing the eyewear industry to a remarkable level of development and economic importance, not only for the province of Belluno but for Italy as a whole, thanks to that character and determination that life in these places demand, making an entire community the center of a very important new industrial basin.
When the winters were cold and long to the point of having to spend a good part of the day indoors in the warmth of a “larin” or “stube”, in the Cadore valleys, people were ingenious enough to spend their time performing small artisan activities in addition to farming, and then they would resell the items built in the spring when the mild weather allowed them to reach the Treviso and Venetian markets. Ladles, large forks, butter molds, trays and containers with a thousand shapes and uses, rolling pins to make pasta, munèghe to warm the beds and combs, thanks to the processing of cattle hair.
Angelo Frescura was born from one of these families of “pettenèr” in Calalzo di Cadore in 1841. He is considered the founder of the Cadore eyewear industry, officially dated March 15, 1878. This was the beginning of the industrial stage of eyewear production in the Belluno area while maintaining strong artisan characteristics unique in the world.
The machinery for manufacturing frames was set up in the spaces of the grain and oil mills, from which the hydraulic driving force necessary for the operation was obtained, guaranteed by the flow of the streams always full of water. This was the beginning of the tradition of grinding and assembling lenses on metal frames, the main material for the production of eyewear in the Cadore area. The relationship between the various entrepreneurs was immediately strong and excellent, based on mutual esteem and profitable collaboration as well as on the transfer of knowledge and skills that became crucial for these valleys full of highly specialized workers.
“The entire Cadore eyewear industry was created from the intrinsic needs of life in the mountains and from the stubbornness of sharp and curious people; the result of a unique historical and cultural context.”
Eyeglasses and sunglasses, original or evergreen frames, colored lenses, design, tradition, and skills: for over 100 years, eyewear has been produced in these marvelous areas surrounded by the Eastern Dolomites at the border with Tyrol, Carinthia, Trentino-Alto Adige, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
Many industrial and artisan activities related to the eyewear sector were established in the following decades, leading to the birth of an industrial district that is unique in terms of skills, imagination, science, and customs.
In addition to eyewear, cases, instruments, binoculars, and telescopes were also manufactured, using materials such as wood and precious stones in addition to metal.
It was only at the beginning of the twentieth century that celluloid gave new strength and modernity to the creation of frames through the new hot-water processing.
It was in this extraordinary historical and cultural context that Luxol was born, a historic artisan eyewear company in the Cadore region that shows pride, competence, and professionalism in every eyewear product it manufactures. It is the result of generations passionate about this work and their land, still full of extraordinary values such as tenacity, skills, curiosity, and dedication.
This is what Made in Italy needs to live up to across the globe.