Paolo Crescimbeni: Culture of Travel


PARMA–“I have a passion for vintage luggage from 1860 to 1950, from the carriage to the first airplane, when volumes changed shape,” said Paolo Crescimbeni, a vintage luggage collector.

Crescimbeni is the owner of Arte&Viaggi, a shop and an archive of original vintage luggage (1850 to 1960) and hats (1880 to 1980), located in a small town near Verona in the northern Italy.

Pointing to an Antebellum-era set of traveling cases, Crescimbeni admires the structure and compartments for shoes and accessories.

“This makes me feel nostalgic for the old world of travel,” Crescimbeni told BACO at the Mercanteinfiera antique fair in Parma. “At the beginning of the century people brought a lot of more stuff than we do today.”

Today’s “carry-on luggage,” jetset society, is a disappointment to him.

“If we think of our packing these days, it seems that everything you do it’s done with less care (and time),” Crescimbeni added.

BACO: How do you choose your pieces?

PC: “I try to have a big array of travel items that can be used for furnishings as well. From the paper box at 50 euros, to the brand-name luggage worth 700 euros. You have the whole range of pieces that inspire the culture of traveling. From the carriage bags to the straw baskets, from the parchment trunk to the shoe luggage.”

BACO: Why did we use trunks in the past?

PC: “A long time ago, people needed to travel safely, without getting things dirty. The trips were very long and the location you reached perhaps didn’t have all the comfort. So it was important that all the luggages were clean and well organized.”

BACO: How about work bags?

PC: “Those are interesting too. I find doctors’ bags, for example, with all the instruments still inside… or veterinary bags. Now you understand why cleanliness was so important.”

BACO: Who buys such pieces?

PC: “Shopkeepers like to buy objects to furnish stores, or people rent them for particular events. Some are interested in  old accessories for remaking or taking inspiration.”


WHAT: Vintage luggage and accessories

HEADQUARTERS: Valeggio sul Mincio (Verona)

PRICE RANGE: from 35 to 3.000 euros

WHERE TO BUY: Museo Nicolis, Villafranca di Verona.

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