Craftsmanship Comes Alive at ‘2018 Artigianato e Palazzo’

Thursday, May 17 – Sun. May 20: ARTIGIANATO E PALAZZO.  Crafts fair.  Palazzo Corsini garden, via della Scala 115. Open 10 am – 8 pm.  Admission:  €8, € 6 reduced, and free for children under 12.  Free catalogue included.

It is a rare occasion that artisans reveal the techniques of their craft, much less among the lush greenery and Baroque-style ornamentation of a 17th century garden. The 24th edition of the Artigianato e Palazzo fair will offer a glimpse into the creative processes of about 100 Italian and international craftsmen outside Palazzo Corsini. For four days amidst the lemon tree-lined paths and in the small limonaia (greenhouse), visitors can marvel at live demonstrations of artistic traditions such as jewelry-making, leatherwork, perfume-making, glasswork, and ceramic artistry.

Old and new exhibitors alike will be present at this year’s fair. Among those returning are mosaicists Iacopo and Bruno Lastrucci, who are distinguished for their use of the 16th century Florentine semi-precious stone mosaic inlay technique commissioned by the Medici family. Florentine leather brand Il Bussetto will also be present again to showcase its fine handcrafted leather bags and accessories.

Among the newcomers are terracotta artists Giorgio Pesci & Figli, whose family has been molding Impruneta clay for generations in the Florentine hills. The beautiful reddish earth is dried and baked into animal sculptures, classical statues, ornamented vases, pots, fountains, and a variety of other functional and decorative products. Other new faces include American designer Laura Fair, who specializes in creating colorful home décor with fabric and paper utilizing silkscreen, and Fornace Biritognolo, whose handmade tiles, and architectural details come in both modern and classical designs.

A special feature of the fair is the Blogs & Crafts contest, an event which promotes the creativity of young craftspeople. The top under-35 artisans will have their works displayed in the Palazzo Corsini greenhouses, where they will have the opportunity to work on their pieces in front of an audience. Blogger will provide live coverage of both the works and the scenery.

Everyday at 6 pm in the Rose Garden, “Ricette di Famiglia” (“Family Recipes”) will illuminate the history and the use of antique Ginori table porcelain settings preserved by the Doccia Museum through anecdotes and recipes. Chefs of Desinare, a cooking school in Florence, will prepare food which the public can sample on contemporary porcelain dishware kindly provided by Richard Ginori.

In addition to the culinary event, a variety of food trucks offering Tuscan specialties as well as delectable Italian street food such as Sicilian arancini, Chianina beef, paninis, and pastries will be catering at the fair. Daily at 7 pm, cellist Naomi Berrill will charm guests with her artisan-inspired music, flitting from pre-Baroque to contemporary jazz, pop, Irish folk music, and classical music.

The organizers Giorgiana Corsini and Neri Torrigiani have announced that the funds collected during the four-day event will be donated to the Doccia Museum, so the gallery can open its doors to the public to exhibit its vast collection of 8,000 porcelain, ceramic, majolica, terracotta, and other objects and over 13,000 drawings, engraved metal plates, plaster molds and wax sculptures. For more information visit www.artigianatoepalazzo.it. (sheean hanlan & berfin altinisk)