This artistic flair has also been applied to artisan crafts the local Florentines have come to specialise in – most prominently jewellery-making, leather crafts, gold leaf gilding, book binding, sartorial work and the like.
Carefully honed throughout the century in tiny artisan workshops known as ‘botteghe’, many of Florence’s best artisan crafts are produced in the Oltrarno area, Florence’s most charming quarter.
This month sees the Mostra Internazionale dell’Artigianato (The International Handicrafts Trade Fair) being held in Florence’s Fortezza da Basso from 21st-29th April, 2012.
The organisers state, ‘The International Handicrafts Trade Fair is the place where culture, arts, handicraft traditions and new creativities meet and shape up to become exclusive. Unique pieces, modelled by experienced hands, dedicated to people who want to stand out.
Classical, modern, ethnic, contemporary, feasible – any kind of style here finds its ideal dimension, along the new exhibiting itineraries inside the “City of Beauty”.’
Various pavilions will be set up to house a range of instillations and settings. Themes include local crafts, tourism, food & wine, landscape identities and more, focusing on the beauty of differences at this great thing to do in Florence.
Aside from the fair, you can also find many artisans in their botteghe by crossing the Ponte Vecchio from Florence’s historic city centre to the Oltrarno area (which literally means something like ‘across the Arno’). The Ponte Vecchio itself is also lined with a bevvy of jewellery stores where all that glitters truly is gold (or silver)!
Our Original Evening Walk, includes a relaxing evening stroll around Florence’s most charming, fascinating and historic quarters, the Oltrarno. Along the way, our English-speaking tour guide reveals details of scandalous tales and murderous intrigues, a medieval hospice holding the dark secrets of Michelangelo’s murky past, bustling squares where Florentines have met and enjoyed their evenings for centuries, artisans workshops virtually out of the Renaissance, and Florence’s favourite medieval flagellation spot for those in the know! All this is followed by a fabulous wine tasting of top-notch Italian wines.
We also have a private guided tour of Florence’s artisan workshops where you can explore firsthand the magic that goes into the finely-crafted designs of exquisite jewellery made by master craftsmen with workshops classified as museums, Europe’s most famous antique tapestry dealer, magnificent Renaissance furniture replicas, painstaking exacting gilders going about the work of centuries past, descendants of the famous Medici family selling oggetti d’arte to Windsor palace, Italy’s most famous wood carvers, and if you want have a perfume made and designed just for you by the talented and fascinating Lorenzo Villoresi with an old family palazzo studio looking over the Ponte Vecchio.
Mostra Internazionale dell’Artigianato Program:
Spadolini Pavilion: Ground Floor: Italian Regions/Lower Floor: Countries divided according to continents
Cavaniglia Pavilion: Visions/Handicrafts between tradition and innovation
Rastriglia Pavilion: Baci 2012 (Balloon Arts Convention Italy)
Central Square: Botteghe D’Art (the International Handicrafts Trade Fair Shops) curated by the Florence Foundation for Artistic Handicraft.
International Handicrafts Trade Fair inauguration day: on 21st April at 11.30am
Press conference: on 19th April at 12.00