The astonishing beauty of the Corsini gardens and the magic atmosphere of Artigianato e Palazzo – one of the must-see events in Florence dedicated to the historic tradition of Italian craftsmanship.
In the sunny and not too hot days of September, Italy just gives its best. In this month there is a lot going on in Florence, especially for those who are interested in Italian craftsmanship. In the morning of last Friday, I left Ortisei in South Tyrol – the town in the Dolomites where I’m currently living in – and went to Florence to visit the faire Artigianato e palazzo (eng. Craftsmanship and Palace).
I was waiting all summer for this special event to come: in the wonderful atmosphere of the palace gardens Giardini Corsini, I visited an incredible fair dedicated to antique and new Italian crafts techniques. This year was the 29 the edition and Artigianato e palazzo gave life to a new visual narrative, revealing different perspectives of know-how through the dialogue of three major projects which have been an opportunity for me for an in-depth study of the Italian crafts world. There was a great attention towards young people this year, confirmed by the presence, for the first time at the exhibition, of the master school Métiers d’Excellence by French group LVMH. This project, born in 2021 with the aim of enhancing and revealing the extraordinary heritage of Italian mastership, has expressed clearly the desire to attract a new generation of craftsmen and -woman in order to recruit the best talents to carry on the great tradition of the different ‘professions of excellence’ that are present in Italy.
Another project worth to mention was La Grande Bellezza by Starhotels. In the wonderful space of the “Limonaia Grandi Maestri”, the result of a partnership between culture, hospitality and great craftsmanship showed us the beauty of a festive tableware, enriched by the splendid colours of its glass-objects. The contamination between craftsmanship and excellent hospitality was signed by designer Sara Ricciardi. The Cloris blown glass collection for the table – which presented plates, glasses, vases and stands, produced by the Treviso company Vetrarti, which is known for the production of high quality Murano glass – has been presented on a precious linen tablecloth embroidered with multicoloured petals created by Tessilarte, an historic Florentine company of fine home linens.
A beautiful idea was to include many social projects, like the textile project for women empowering Guri I Zi from Milan. It is an ethical brand of handcrafted fabrics of table and homeware, which is part of the women’s textile micro-enterprise project in Northern Albania started in 2006 to improve the lives of women, their families and the entire community. Today the project provides work and dignity to more than 40 workers: an extraordinary example of how craftsmanship could give life to sustainable and social enterprises.
Attesting a new approach to the world of craftsmanship was the special competition Blogs & Crafts Europe for young artisans and the web, that aimed to involve a new generations with their particular vision on the potential of innovation in the craftsmanship sector. It brought a fundamental contribution to explain the contemporary change in the crafts world.
In general, the exhibition aimed to show and embrace new approaches to the world of crafts, showing the potential of a market that has suffered for many years the lack of young people interested in this wonderful professions, which arise the desire of preserving this different traditions in present and future generations.