Where is it from?

Association locations map

Serviette - Florentino Restaurant, Melbourne, circa 1988 Object Reg. No: SH 960147

Alternative Name(s): Napkin

This white cotton napkin is part of the furnishing and equipment used at Florentino Restaurant in Bourke Street Melbourne, during the time of Branco Tocigl's ownership from 1979-1989.

Florentino's opened during the 1920s under the ownership of Polish migrant Samuel Wynn and management of Rinaldo Massoni who had migrated from Italy in 1911. Originally Cafe Denat in Exhibition Street, the new owners moved it to Exhibition Street and changed the name to Cafe Florentino. Under Massoni's management (he purchased the lease from Wynn in 1929), the cafe flourished and expanded into the neighbouring Edments gift store in 1935. Massoni died suddenly in 1941 and the restaurant has had a series of owners ever since, but has always remained in its 1935 location.
A woven cotton fabric with 'fleur-di-lis' pattern in rows all over, every second row faces each other and the pattern is arranged so that the flowers fit between eachother. 3 sides have a machine hem, the fourth has a selvedge. The inscription word is on the lower right hand side embroidered in red cotton. The lily is the symbol of Florence.
Statement Of Significance:
Florentino Restaurant represents one of the longest continuously operating restaurants in Melbourne, indeed it is recognised as a Melbourne 'institution.' Documenting its history enables not just the representation of a significant local business in the collection, but also the telling of broader stories about the significance of migrant community ties in establishing and maintaining businesses over time; and the role of migrant communities in participating in the cultural evolution of Melbourne through its food, wine and coffee cultures.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Mr Branco Tocigl, 1996
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 482 mm (Height), 545 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: food drink consumption, immigration, italian communities, italian immigration, table linen, restaurants
Themes this item is part of: Florentino Restaurant, Melbourne, Italian Historical Society CO.AS.IT. Collection, Domestic & Community Life Collection
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Café & Pub Culture
Tertiary Classification: table settings
Inscriptions: Text, embroidered: Florentino.
Place & Date Used: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, by 1988
References: The following related photographs are held by the Italian Historical Society: P-01595; P-06544.

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.
Yes No