Meet the Craftsmen at ‘Artigianato e Palazzo’

May 16-19 2019: ARTIGIANATO E PALAZZO (Crafts and Palace). Corsini Garden, via della Scala 115, Florence. Open 10 am – 8 pm. Admission: €8 full, €6 for 12-18 years, free for those under 11.

In its 25th edition, the crafts fair Artigianato e Palazzo returns this year celebrating its ‘vermeil’ anniversary, commemorating the technique of gilding silver with gold which originated from mid-18th century France. Appropriately, the interconnecting theme of this unique four-day event is gold. Among the 17th century-style Corsini gardens, in the Limonaie (greenhouses) and Orto delle Monache (nuns’ vegetable garden), the fair will showcase 100 Italian and international master artisans across a myriad of trades who will showcase their work and reveal the secrets of their craft through live demonstrations.

Over its past 24 editions, the exhibition has featured 744 master craftsmen across 154 professions including ceramics, silver embossing, wood carving, tapestry restoration, gilding, straw weaving, stone inlay and goldsmith work.



Among this year’s new selection of master artisans is Junko Kuzuhara from Japan, who produces ceramics using an ancient technique originating from the Shigaraki village. Also from Japan will be Minako Shimonagase, who creates unique flower bouquets embellished with hand-sewn glass beads and coloured threads, and 3D effects. Visitors can also admire Russian artistic culture through the icons created by the Dom Nevyanskoy Ikony Foundation. Representing Germany is another exhibitor showcasing ceramic work hand-painted by the Mathias Graebner workshop. Among the Italians include companies specialising in handmade wood utensils, restoring wood furniture, and fireplaces made from volcanic clay.

On top of this, there will be mosaics created according to a 19th century family tradition and jewels made of gold, silver, titanium and precious stones. Other exhibitors feature hand-embroidered slippers, live silkscreen-printing workshops, glass grinding, perfumery, and more.

Mostra Principe (Main Exhibition)

In the Limonaia Piccola one can discover and be inspired by the creative journey and manufacturing excellence of the Italian company Giusto Manetti Battiloro. Visitors will have a unique opportunity to learn about gold and silver leaf production, a production process used by the company for over 15 generations.

To mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the main exhibition will display an antique Maglio per Battiloro (goldbeating mallet machine) in action. Giusto Manetti Battiloro recreated this machine, used for producing gold leaf, medals, coins and studs, based on Leonardo da Vinci’s original design in his Codex Atlanticus. The drawing itself can be viewed at Palazzo Vecchio until June 24.

Fundraising ‘Memories of Russia in Florence’

In this year’s fundraising campaign, ‘Memories of Russia in Florence,’ donations will be collected online until May 31) in an urgent effort to restore and conserve masterpieces from the 19th century and early 20th century which represent the cultural bond between Florence and the Russian community. These works are found throughout Florentine residences, churches and artistic collections, including the Demidoff Collection in the Stibbert Museum, monuments in the Evangelical Cemetery ‘agli Allori’ and the works in the Russian Orthodox Church. This year’s fundraising target is 308,000. The organisers have also asked young artist Riccardo Prosperi (also known as Simafra) to create 10 unique sculptures especially for the exhibition, and donations for these works will go towards the fundraising campaign.

Family Recipes

Daily at 6 pm join journalist Annamaria Tossani and the chefs from Desinare, a cooking school in Florence, in the Rose Garden to experience a fusion of contemporary and traditional flavours in live cooking demonstrations and tastings. In the spirit of this year’s fundraising campaign, visitors can taste and learn about Russian cuisine specialties including honey cake (Thursday 16), blini with sour cream (Friday 17), pirojki (Saturday, 18) and the Easter cake, paska (Sunday, 19). Food will be served on exclusive porcelain plates produced by Richard Ginori and decorated with pure gold leaf by Giusto Mannetti Battiloro.

 Blogs & Crafts

A special feature of the fair is the Blogs & Crafts competition, founded by organisers Giorgiana Corsini and Neri Torrigiani, which promotes the creativity of young craftspeople under-35. The top 10 winning artisans will be guests at the fair and have their works displayed in the Limonaia. 10 of the best bloggers on crafts, lifestyle, fashion and tourism will also provide live coverage of the winners’ works.

 As part of this year’s event, two additional awards will also be granted: the Premio Perseo for the exhibitor most liked by the public, and the Premio del Comitato Promote (Promotion Committee Prize) for the most interesting stand.

For further program details visit the Artigianato e Palazzo website. (stephanie d’amelio)