Artigianato e Palazzo: artisans at work to create a future through the past


Last Updated on November 29, 2023 by Laura Teso

Artigianato e Palazzo was a great opportunity for me. Not only I had the chance to visit the beautiful Firenze again, but also to “sneak” into a luxuriant garden and to see firsthand about a hundred artisans at work.

The location was in fact the Corsini garden, a so called giardino all’italiana (based on symmetry and geometrical forms). It hosts about 130 citrus plants and an unspecified number of tortoises (but unfortunately I didn’t spot any). Among the illustrious guests of the palazzo and the garden was queen Victoria.

5 parts compose the Artigianto e Palazzo Event:

  1. Exhibition: The exhibition of quality artisans with the aim to re-evaluate Italian craftsmanship, and to obtain, thanks to ancient techniques, unique and extraordinary modern objects. People had the chance to admire the artisans at work and also buy their creations. Shoes, accessories, bijoux, ties, decorations, books, fabrics, hats, wood, perfumes, gastronomy and many more.
  2. Family recipes: (ricette di famiglia). Interesting daily encounters with authors of cookbooks dedicated to Italy’s food culture.
  3. Una torta per sognare, a cake to dream. Everyone was invited to post a photo of his/her wedding cake on Facebook with the hashtag #fioridarancio2017. The winner couple was then invited on Sunday May 21 to taste their wedding cake, expertly revisited by a pastry chef. The couple also won a free night at a Starhotels hotel in Florence.
  4. Blogs&Crafts: young artisans and the web is a contest aimed to find a combination between traditional artistic creation and modern multimedia communication. A jury selected 10 under 35 artisans, that had an entire exhibition area for them. Plus 10 bloggers active on the topics crafts, lifestyle, fashion, food and tourism were hosted in Florence and shared their live experience at the event. And I was one of them!
  5. Prizes: Associazione Trisomia 21 Onlus won the prize for the best wedding favour creation. Premio Perseo to the artisan most appreciated by the visitors (Lastrucci mosaics). Source prize for the Under 35 category to Raro, really awesome bags (I left my heart on a cute black bag).

If I had to write a paragraph on each exhibitor, I would write an entire poem. So I decided to be honest with you and with myself and to mention only those who impressed me the most.

Artigianato e Palazzo – Blogs and Crafts Young artisans

This surely depends on my feminine taste, but I set my eyes on bijoux, dresses and bags 😀 .

Organic Earrings by Daniela Quadrelli

Daniela managed to create lovely and light earrings, charms and pendants out of succulent plants waste. I thought it was wood because of the texture. She was capable to see the beauty in the humble natural things and transform them in to art. Warm shades, a touch of gold and simple, fascinating forms won me over.

Raro by Giorgia Vergamini

Giorgia was very nice and funny, she tried to continue her work on a bag while talking to me, and she, shy as I am, was also slightly embarrassed to be photographed. But I couldn’t help, cause her bags were one of the most beautiful creations of the entire event. And in fact she won first prize among the young artisans. There was in particular a little roundish black (omg, is the adjectives order right? 😀 ) shoulder bag so cute that I’m still thinking about it. Bravissima, Giorgia!

Noleggio Costumi Teatrali by Veronica Di Pietrantonio and Angela dell’Oso

Veronica and Anglea were creating a beautiful 1800s style dress. The intent was to finish it by the end of the event. Veronica entertained me with her fascinating anecdotes regarding exclusive themed parties and weddings she attended thanks to her sartorial job.

Noleggio Costumi Teatrali, Artigianato e Palazzo
Noleggio Costumi Teatrali, Artigianato e Palazzo

I’m Italian mosaic by Elisa Lonetti and Roberto Hamed

Elisa and Roberto graduated from the Italian Mosaics school in Spilimbergo (Friuli) and then opened their own workshop. Using the instruments of the ancient handicraft tradition, they create decorations, furnishing elements and bijoux. My silly question to Elisa was: But… when you use the hammer to break the stone, can you actually tell how it is going to break? And the answer was yes, she can. I think I would ruin the whole material 😉 .

I'm Italian mosaic
I’m Italian mosaic

Artigianato e Palazzo exhibitors

The artisans stands were scattered in the garden, each with its different layout, some in the open, others inside one of the three lemon houses. Also a dining area was conveniently set at the right of the entrance, on the green grass, with the appreciated shade of some red and yellow tents.

Mario Bemer men shoes

The name Mario Bemer is very well known abroad for the exquisite men shoes. The shop is in the Oltrarno area of Florence. Leather and components are entirely from Tuscany and the shoes, bespoke or prete-a-porter, are strictly handmade in Italy. Some paris require up to 70 hours of work! If I were a man, I would definitely love to have a pair of these unique shoes!

Did you know that… Daniel Day Lewis (one of my favourite actors by the way) loved the shop and asked the owners to work there. For almost a year, between 1999 and 2000, he was an apprentice. He learnt how to make shoes. Mario showed to me and other bloggers a few pictures of Day Lewis dressed with apron. He said that the actor was the first to arrive and the last one to go. Before closing the shop he wanted to sweep, saying: “I’m the new guy. It’s just fair for me to do this”. On the photo you can see his shoes molds.

D’Ago Cravatte (ties)

For many years Giuliana Di Agostino worked on commission for Gucci, Tom Fors, YSL and then she decided to found her own brand. And it was fascinating for me to see her at work, sewing a bespoke tie for a client. Especially because my sewing ability is limited to badly reattaching a button.

Giotto Scaramelli wickerwork

Giotto (wonderful name, like the painter. He was the first Giotto I met) learned wickerwork from his father, a caner. He now teaches others to do it in a farmstead south west of Firenze.

Crizu paper sculptures

Anna Bonino, together with her mother, recovers books destined for the pulping mill. By bending the paper (with such a precision! No cuts and no tears), they create original sculptures and bijoux.

BaroccOro Jewels, Ragusa

I would have bought everything. So colourful, so cheerful. There was the whole spirit and the warmth of Sicily in this stand. Pity the man gave me to understand that he preferred me not to take photos.

Consorzio Il Cappello di Firenze

They were responsible for the hats of Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Marylin Monroe. We saw their creations in films like Room with a view, Sex and the City, Pretty Woman, Amarcord. While I was there taking pictures a beautiful lady was describing her ideal hat, to be then created under her eyes by the skilled hands of an artisan.

Arual Dem jewels

Eco-sustainability, manual skill, love for Japanese origami and an innovative idea all combine thanks to Laura (Arual is Laura written backwords). She creates unique pieces out of paper. Yes, paper: be it magazines pages, recycled paper or fine quality cardboards, she uses them to obtain a peculiar shape or shade. Also, she uses a special glue that protects the material, so that it is water an wear resistant.

Tommaso Candria bags

Combining wicker and leather, Tommaso Candria creates beautiful bags, and they were lighter than I imagined. During all the time of the exhibition I saw him there, in front of his stand, weaving the wicker with patience and calm. I obviously fell in love with one bag. Uffa!

Fabriano Boutique

Fabriano is a name that everyone in Italy knows well. Every schoolchildren owns a Fabriano sketchbook. I did! Their paper factory has a centenary history. In their boutiques (in Verona, Venezia, Firenze, Milano, Roma and Taormina) you can find stationery, notebooks, pencils, but also travel accessories and paper jewels.

Officina di Santa Maria Novella

Part of the Santa Maria Novella convent, it is one of the most ancient commercial activities in Europe. This perfume and herbalist’s shop, once also a pharmacy, sells herbal teas, ointments, creams, elixirs, perfumes and many of the products follow ancient recipes. Since I also visited the shop, close to the train station, I will write a dedicated post asap.

Officina di Santa Maria Novella, Artigianato e Palazzo
Officina di Santa Maria Novella, Artigianato e Palazzo

Cornici Padrevecchi

This shop is appreciated all over the world for their production, decoration and restoration of frames. Hotels, museums and institutions are among their clients. Here you can see the lady at work, covering the frame in silver leaf.

Dörthe Lütkemeyer

Her delicate flowers and gold leaf necklaces won me over. Pity I can’t find a website to show you the works!

Zouganista inlay

Takafumi Mochizuki was born in Tokyo and moved to Florence in 2007. Here he learned to restore and inlay wooden furniture. Zougan means inlay in japanese. He’s very talented, you can immediately tell by observing the accurate details of his works. An example? The Facebook and Instagram accounts wooden QR codes. See for yourselves!

Zouganista Facebook and Instagram Wooden QR codes
Zouganista Facebook and Instagram Wooden QR codes

Dea Sandals Capri

What can I say? If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I couldn’t resist to the lure of these sandals. I have been looking for a pair of sandals with blue crystals since the last summer, so I couldn’t let them go! I decided the design and Claudia assembled my new sandals in front of me, in about 20 minutes, while I waited barefoot 🙂 chatting with another lady. Wonderful! Those in the two pictures below are precisely my new sandals 😉

In conclusion, Artigianato e Palazzo was the perfect occasion to get to know, see at work an by from some talented and high quality artisans, that really create unique and made in Itay products. I f possible, I will certainly visit it next here, too.

Thanks to the organizers: Principessa Giorgiana Corsini e Neri Torrigiani. And to the sponsors: Fondazione Ferragamo, Starhotels, SourceFondazione CR Firenze, Richard Ginori, Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, DESINARE catering, Perego Carta, Favini Carta.

Grazie a tutti i miei compagni di avventura: Gilberto, Sasha, Alice, Maria Rosaria, Natascia, Giulia… E un grazie speciale a Mariano di Italiancrafting per avermi definita simpaticissima. E a Barbara e Federica di Ispirazioninfiera per la compagnia 🙂

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