Location: Villa Bottini, via Elisa, 9
Date: 4 settembre – 3 ottobre 2021

curated by Chiara Ruberti
produced by Archivio Fotografico Lucchese “A. Fazzi”

The history of the Manifattura Tabacchi of Lucca is over 150 years old.

The Royal Tobacco Factory of Lucca was open, with the unification of Italy, in 1861 and it was one of the four active in Tuscany, with Florence, Massa Carrara and Capraia (the last two ceased in 1865). 500 piecework cigar makers, 165 junior officers and 13 senior officers worked there; the annual production consisted of about 300 quintals of cigars, 139 of powders, 65 of shredded tobacco.

In the first decade of the 1900s, 111 male workers and 1,400 women worked in the plant with the help of 45 operating machines.
Between the Twenties and Thirties in the Manifattura the workforce grew up to 3,000 people who produced about two thousand tons of finished tobacco per year. Those were the years of significant restorations and expansion of the structures with the construction of a new building overlooking Piazzale Verdi.
In the 1940s, the growth in production also led to the addition of new buildings to accommodate workshops and services for staff: a recreational area, a nursery and an internal kitchen.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the factory resumed work, introducing the production of cigarettes, which in 1957 accounted for 84% of all tobacco consumption on the national territory.
The spread of tabacin blight in tobacco plants and the promulgation of the law of 10 April 1962 which introduces the ban on the advertising of smoking products, together with the increasing closure of the plantations lead to the collapse of national tobacco production. Imports then covered a large part of the market and manufacturing faced a serious crisis.
The Manifattura of Lucca is one of the few that managed to remain open, concentrating the production on cigars and in particular on the Tuscan cigar.

In 1998 the Manifattura was subjected to the control of the Italian Tobacco Agency (ETI), privatized in 2004 by British American Tobacco Italia (BAT). At the end of the same year, it was transferred to the new plant in Mugnano (LU).

The Archivio Fotografico Lucchese “A. Fazzi ” preserves the history in images of the Manifattura and its employees. From the 10s of the Twentieth century, date of the first portraits of workers of the factory taken by Alfredo Melotti, up to the end of the last century, with the reportages made by Lucio Ghilardi in 1987 and Enrico Stefanelli in 1998, going through many photographs – and in particular the 1930’s shots of the exterior by Ettore Cortopassi.