The etymology of the term “tabarro” is uncertain, it seems to date back to the late Latin tabardus-tabardum, and indicated both the cloak and the dress or toga.
The tabarro made its appearance in ancient Rome and over the centuries it has known different shapes, colors and fabrics, always remaining faithful to what distinguishes it: raw cut of the cloth, a single seam and collar .

In the fourteenth century, in Venice as in Tuscany, it was a long surcoat, with wide but not long sleeves, worn by doctors, magistrates, merchants and ecclesiastics. Usually simple and devoid of refinement, it has a rectangular shape and is made of silk, black cloth or fur-lined, sometimes accompanied by a hood.


During the Sixteenth century the term tabarro is used both for an elegant short jacket with sleeves, open at the front, and for the uniform worn by oar convicts. At the end of the century it became the cloak that covered the shoulders of citizens, merchants and travelers and only in the seventeenth century did it also begin to be used by nobles, officials and magistrates in place of the patrician robe.

In the twentieth century it became a symbol of elegance and refinement even if some “variations on the theme” were used by peasants (the “tabarrino”, shorter for practical reasons) or by troops at the front. The tabard is also often the symbol of the Italian who leaves for the New World: the archives are full of images of men wrapped in their tabards who disembark on Staten Island or Buenos Aires.

In the second after the warthe tabard fell into disuse, sometimes even banned because it was identified with the “symbolic” leader of the anarchists or, in most cases, replaced by the coat.
We had to wait until the beginning of the Seventiesto see it reappear on the scene, on the occasion of Pitti Uomo, when Sandro Zara, a convinced supporter of its use and determined to recover its memory, proposed it again to the public of the fashion system.

“The history of customs fascinates me, the search for beauty in tradition, especially in my lagoon tradition”

Venetian entrepreneur who has combined costume and fashion for over 50 years, Sandro Zara has been producing tabards since 1974 through Artigiana Sartoria Veneta. He has always worked in the clothing and fashion sector which he considers an expression of culture and belonging.

The love and respect for things from the past, the passion for textiles and the charm they exercise on his raw materials, such as poor wool, makes him rediscover the tabard, a garment he had seen worn by his grandparents. He began collecting traditional Venetian clothes: cloaks, greatcoats and uniforms forgotten or no longer in use.

Strengthened by the curiosity that has always accompanied him, he immersed himself in research and study in the rooms of the museum of Palazzo Mocenigo and the Sea Museum of Chioggia, in the textile archives of old wool mills now closed, among the numerous private and public collections, in the houses and buildings of the Mainland and the Lagoon and discover stories, models, authentic measurements and fabrics capable of protecting from the wind and from the cold.

“I was born against the current and I never aligned myself”, Sandro Zara loves to say and with his words he gives reason, body and soul to a work made up of study, research and passion, often so far from modern production and market logic.


“A story of passion for tradition combined with expert tailoring”

In 1974, on the basis of love and intuition, the Tabarrificio (a neologism coined by Sandro Zara) Veneto was born, the first existing in Italy, a space of memory where past and future coexist. The success was not immediate, perhaps because the market was not yet ready for the reappearance of a garment which, at that time, was only worn by the few knife grinders and chimney sweepers operating in the Venetian territory. The profound belief in the “novelty” represented by the tabard pushes Zara to propose it at Pitti Immagine where, despite the still limited commercial result, it receives attention and appreciation from sector operators.

Starting from that date production becomes constant throughout the year and the Tabarrificio Veneto is a consecrated place where the secrets for making the garment are kept, the result of years of study and research, and a considerable archive of historical garments , worthy of a museum, coming from Veneto, Lombardy and Emilia Romagna, precious material from which to draw inspiration and inspiration.

Sandro Zara proposes the functionality and practicality of timeless cuts and fabrics of the old models , capturing details and fragments of a past at risk of extinction. The tabards are designed, cut and sewn one by one by skilled craftsmen and tailors with proven and long experience. Each garment is studied down to the smallest detail: from the cut of the Italico fabric, the only one that allows raw cutting, to the perfection of the only seam allowed by tradition, to the construction and manufacturing of the neck, the detail more complex to create.

The more rustic yarns are produced in the Veneto hinterland, in collaboration with a shepherds’ cooperative, while for the finest fabrics we rely on the most prestigious Biellese wool mill.
Faithful to traditional production techniques and to protect the authenticity of its tabards, Tabarrificio Veneto progressively numbers each individual item and brands it with its own name: Brigantino, Nobilomo, Lustrissimo, Ruzzante, Ca’ D’oro, Hepburn, are just some of the models proposed for the man and woman whose names derive from who wore them and from the places where the prototypes were found.
Wearing a tabard, with that unique and very precise gesture, is equivalent to taking a journey through history , in the tradition and culture of times past, allows you to recover and feel first-hand a sense of protection and belonging to ancient but always current values. As written in an important national newspaper, “Sandro Zara’s cloaks do not cover, but reveal. Who we were, what we could be”. In the 1990s the tabard became a collection and was enriched with accessories that completed it: the Mazziniana and the anarchist bow, the mask, the Liston hat, the perfume sold in the whole world.