Lanificio Fratelli Balli was born in 1948 from an intuition of three brothers from Prato: Ruggero, professional cyclist, Otello, expert and mechanic enthusiast, and Dionigi, a young enterprising with outstanding commercial skills. The heterogeneous qualities of the three allowed them, after a short apprenticeship as weavers specialized in weaving, to set up their own business and create a small company from nothing. With the money earned by Ruggero in bicycle races they managed to buy some damaged frames during the bombings of World War II at a good price and, thanks to Otello's ability to fix anything with a mechanism, they put them back into operation and started a small weaving.
The commercial exuberance of Dionigi, the post-war economic boom and a bit of good luck allowed the new company to grow exponentially in a few years. Weaving was integrated with other production processes such as spinning and finishing, turning the small company into a full-cycle vertical company. Soon the headquarters where the Lanificio Fratelli Balli operated was no longer able to satisfy the logistic functional needs of the activity. It was in 1974 that the three brothers decided to move to a more suitable place to host a company that had become "important".
The choice fell on one of the most historic and important Prato locations: the Fabbricone, a complex dating back to the end of the 19th century, had been the pride of the Prato textile industry during the first half of the 20th century, employing up to 2000 people. that under the control of IRI started towards an inexorable decline in the post-war period. Moving the Lanificio Fratelli Balli to the Fabbricone was a great opportunity not only for the three brothers, who could thus have developed their business on over 25,000 square meters of warehouses, but also for the plant itself that finally could have regained the importance that a structure of the kind undoubtedly deserves.
In 2000 Lanificio Fratelli Balli acquired 100% of Lanificio Rafanelli and in 2017 the two companies merged into a single company. Even today the Fabbricone is the seat of both the offices and the production of the Lanificio Fratelli Balli - Rafanelli.