Detailed sheets

The clothing of the merchant from Pisa

Sardinia was included in a series of trade routes from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, largely thanks to Pisa and Genoa. The relationship between the first Commune and Gallura was reinforced by marriages through which some noble families were granted the direct government of the Giudicato.

Tuscan merchants (fig. 1) must have frequently travelled to the island in order to carry out their business and in addition to carrying their precious cargo, they spread new fashions.

Fig. 1 - Firenze, Loggia del mercato nuovo: statue of Giovanni Villani (Florence, 1276 - 1348) , merchant, historian and Italian chronicler (from,_giovanni_villani.JPG).

They were dressed in a tunic, that is a wool or silk garment which reached to mid-thigh or to the knees - worn down to the ankles when not working - which went over the head and was tied at the waist with a belt from which his bag (scarsella pouch) hung: the sleeves reached the forearms and could be closed by buttons, whilst the skirt was wide and pleated. Underneath there was his camisa (shirt), that is a kind of tunic closed on one side and open at the bottom both at the front and the back which was as long as the tunic. The legs were entirely covered by tights, long stockings tied to the trousers with cloth or leather laces (fig. 2).

Fig. 2 - Pouch, camisa (shirt), trousers and tights (from


The leather pointed shoes had no heel. The shoulders were covered by a hooded cloak and a variously shaped cloth headdress was often placed on the head.

All these garments were designed to serve three primary functions: to cover every part of the body, because by law, no one was allowed to show any, to protect from the cold and to indicate social status.

Clothes were dyed with various colours, but from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries onwards blue was used frequently along with other pure colours such as green and red in its various shades. This type of clothing remained unchanged at least until the fifteenth century and is found all over Europe, as can be seen from various sculptures, paintings and written documents (figs. 3-4).

Fig. 3 - Merchant Peter Neumeister, watercolour drawing, about 1440 - Reproduction (from
Fig. 4 - Miniature representing "Magister Faragius" of Naples from the book Tacuinum Sanitatis (from,_medicine,Taccuino_Sanitatis,.jpg).


  • R. DELORT, La vita quotidiana nel Medioevo, Roma 2002.
  • L. IMPERIO, Vestire nel Medioevo. Moda, tessuti ed accessori tratti dalle fonti d’epoca, Tuscania 2013.
  • M. G. MUZZARELLI, Guardaroba medievale. Vesti e società dal XIII al XVI secolo, Bologna 2008.
  • F. PIPONNIER, Occidente, in F. PIPONNIER, M. NOCKERT, G. DI FLUMERI VATIELLI, s.v. Abbigliamento, “Enciclopedia dell'Arte Medievale” – Treccani on line, 1991. Disponibile su:'_Arte_Medievale)/.