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Crafts & excellences is a journey through time to discover the timeless expertise behind art crafts and typical handmade products that have made Tuscany so famous all over the world.

Learning everything about textile art, musical instruments handcraft, paper mache, the art of the goldsmith art and woven straw means getting in touch with a cultural heritage that tenaciously prevails over changing times.

Are you ready to catch a glimpse of the wisdom cherished by the Tuscan craftsmen and craftswomen?

Meet and follow the players
First Day
November 6th-7th, 2013
Touring handicraft workshops in Florence and Prato

The blog tour starts on Wednesday, November 6th, with a visit to the Florence city centre, up to the top of the Brunelleschi Cupola.

The next morning, the players enjoy a quite different tour of town, in the footsteps of the historical Florentine artisans: shoemaking, painting, glass engraving, mosaics, iron work, wood work, paper marbling, and more!

When talking about craftsmanship in Florence, you cannot but think about Fondazione di Firenze per l’Artigianato Artistico: it was created in 2001 by a number of craftsmen, public entities and cultural institutions to safeguard the traditional “know-how” in the third millennium, as well as promoting the innovative aspects of the artisan work. After an introductive tour, the players visit a few workshops and tried their hands at various handicraft activities.

In the afternoon, we move to Prato to visit the Prato Textile Museum, a flourishing cultural center that fosters the history of local textile production (which roughly dates to the beginning of the 12th century). After that, it will be time for a “knitting cafè” with BettaKnit.

Second Day
Friday, November 8 2013
Pistoia & its province: from paper to music

Our journey through tradition in Pistoia and surroundings starts at the plant nursery Romiti & Giusti, specialized in topiary, an horticultural technique that allows to create sculptures of many different forms out of plants. Such peculiar art that dates back to Roman times and over the centuries has developed according to fashions, shapes and creativity of the master gardeners.

Second stop of the day is the UFIP factory (Italian Cymbal Fabricators Union), to discover how cymbals are made and meet a famous italian drummer, Gennaro Scarpato. Then, get ready to visit the Museum of Music and Percussion Instruments managed by the Fondazione Luigi Tronci.

Third Day
Saturday, November 9 2013
Cortona and Foiano della Chiana's excellences

The last day of Craft & Excellences takes us to the Valdichiana area: Cortona in the morning, to discover its terracotta and goldsmith heritage, and Foiano della Chiana in the afternoon, to experience the enourmous zeal during preparations for the carnival.

In Cortona, we'd like to take you to two different artisan workshops: Terrabruga and Maestri Orafi Del Brenna. The first is famous for its ceramics, called “cocci”, that are still made with the traditional process. Secondly, in the cellars of Palazzo Alfieri, home to the Del Brenna workshop, the players have the chance to discover the techniques and processes behind the creation of jewelry. During the visit will be also offered a “Jewellery tasting” (prosecco with gold dust).

Once in Foiano della Chiana, we immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of one of the oldest carnivals in Italy (it was established in 1539). As you can imagine, celebrations that usually take place in February and March are only the tip of the iceberg! Carnival in Foiano is lived every day, throughout the year! The players, guided by Mrs. Alice, take part in the preparation activities of one of the huge papier-mâché floats.


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