Explorers of Florentine excellence and the historical craft shops of the “city of the lily”, welcome back! This is the third and final part of a tour that has taken you, first, into the rooms and cloister of Il Vecchio Conventino, where the silence is broken only by the sounds of traditional instruments used by artisans, then to the streets of the Oltrarno neighborhood, which is so typical and characteristic. Today, we focus on the historic center, around the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and we hope to be able to enchant and intrigue you once more! To tell you the truth, we are really enjoying this trip ourselves! N.B. The shops along our itinerary are (obviously) just some of the beautiful and precious places that thankfully still exist in Florence. We had to come up with a selection, but many more could have been listed, too. To have a broader view of Florence’s workshops (which isn’t a complete one either!), take a look here and get some inspiration for fun during your stay in Florence. SCARPELLI - Florentine Mosaic Via Ricasoli 59/r
A workshop in the heart of Florence, where the Renaissance tradition of mosaics with hard stones continues. An art gallery with works entirely created by the expert hands of Renzo and Leonardo Scarpelli. Renzo was born in 1947 in Firenzuola, and, at age 13, he started working in one of the oldest shops in Florence; today his creations can be seen all over the world. His son Leonardo, after finishing his studies in mosaic and painting decoration, decided to join him: a child’s passion became a job for life. His mosaics are a unique combination of art and crafts, tradition and innovation. Renzo and Leonardo work together in the workshop and they long to reveal to you the secrets of this ancient art. FILISTRUCCHI - Wigs and Make-up Via Giuseppe Verdi, 9
The creation of the Filistrucchi firm, the oldest artisan shop in Florence, dates back to 1720. Wigs, beards, moustaches and toupees as well as masks and prosthetics in foam latex, silicone and papier-mache, for theatre, movie, television, entertainment and fashion. Work is carried out to meet every need, using carefully selected high-quality materials, real hair and typical artisan meticulousness. The secrets of the ancient tradition of the wig making, combined with the make-up, have been handed down from generation to generation, combined with the newest techniques. GABRIELE MASELLI - Carved Wood via Ginori, 51r
This shop selling handmade frames was founded by Paolo Maselli, who decided to open it in Florence in 1955. Over the years, he handed down this same passion and imagination to his son, Gabriele, who in 1979 began to work in the shop, after attending the exclusive Art School Palazzo Spinelli, having specialized in gilding, restoration and carving frames. The store has remained a small workshop and today, thanks to the experience, passion and attention to detail, provides top-quality services. For example, the framework for the work of Poccetti’s Miracle of Saint Zenobius, unveiled on September 8, 2011, in Florence Cathedral, came from here. The workshop has also been honored by the City of Florence and awarded "Antica Bottega Artigiana" status. PAOLO BRUSCOLI - Leather and Paper Via Montebello, 58/R
Egisto Bruscoli started the company in 1881 as a print shop and bookbinders. In 1904, he won an Alinari competition for the artistic binding of the Divine Comedy. In the early 1900s, his son and grandchildren continued the work focusing on bookbinding and restoration of books. The production grew considerably during the '50s and '60s, as well as the development of relations with foreign states. In 1958, Paolo Bruscoli was called upon to restore the precious books of the Laurentian Library, a work that he continued until the flood of 1966, which seriously damaged the shop. Due to the same occurrence, the company was called to the restoration of the collections of the National Library of Florence. The Bruscoli company, currently in its fifth generation, keeps ancient techniques alive, for book bindery and restoration, as well as for the restoration of leather armchairs and desks, and for the artistic and artisanal production of leather goods. CARLO VETTORI - Lute Maker Via Guelfa, 3
Carlo Vettori is the son and student of master Dario Vettori, known as "the lute-maker of the mountain". He left his father's workshop in 1959 to settle in Florence, fitting right away into the circle of the city’s most famous violin-makers. He has been awarded several times during conferences or violin-making competitions. His instruments are played by famous international musicians and major orchestras and are bought by professional musicians, dealers and collectors from around the world. PAOLO PENKO - Goldsmith Via F. Zannetti, 14/16r
Paolo Penko, master of the goldsmith art, was born in Florence, the city from which he absorbed the dictates of Renaissance art. In his workshop, a few steps from the Duomo, he creates unique jewellery, made entirely by hand, with the help of his wife Beatrice, an expert in gemology. Paolo is able to perform the most sophisticated and demanding techniques of the great tradition of Florentine goldsmith (such as cesoro, a process of Etruscan origin), to produce jewellery, but also for playing silver medals and works of art, or for the creation of new forms and expressions. Some of his most significant works have become part of the collection of the National Museum of the Bargello and the Silver Museum in the Pitti Palace.
a guest-post by Fondazione Firenze Artigianato Artistico