Beautiful, elegant, highly personalized and long-lasting: from footwear to jewelry, from clothing to home décor and accessories of any kind, the new era of luxury shopping is high-class craftsmanship. Better if made in Italy, of course, for the quality and creativity of the products. The boundary separating the artisan from the artist, in some cases, could be very subtle. And it's not by chance, that the Italian word Maestro is used all over the world to describe a master of an art, or a craft too. In Italy, indeed, great artisanal knowledge has been nurtured through centuries, mostly throughout family traditions, evolving into a top-level luxury craftsmanship that is at the core of "made in Italy" style. The most illustrious example is the Ferragamo brand, that has always believed in the local craftsmanship potential, combined with the Italian innovation and creativity.
The artistic Italian knowhow, but also the territory and the traditions of the people that live in it, are great sources of inspiration for a passionate artisan. And for a traveler, how fascinating is learning about the personal stories of craftsmen who pass down their skills from generation to generation! But what makes an artisan a real master? First of all, a genuine passion for the product. But also passion for high quality raw materials and always renewing creativity.
Here's a few stories of some successful Italian master-artisans; just a representative of this vast human heritage.
The Tie-makers Master
In 1914, at the eve of the first world war, Eugenio Marinella opened a shop in Naples, choosing one of the most beautiful waterfronts in Italy as location. He is just the founder of the "Marinella philosophy": more than a sale point, a salon where the human relationships are based on availability, courtesy and respect. Today Maurizio, Eugenio's grandson, brings forth his philosophy making the Marinella ties a real symbol of elegance. They are today round the neck of the most elegant and famous men: a lot of crowned heads and presidents of state, high exponents of the politics and the entrepreneurial world.
The Umbrella-maker Master
Francesco Maglia belongs to the fifth generation of Italian artisans creating umbrellas. Based in Milan, his company has been producing umbrellas since 1854 for the best luxury clothing brands and the stylish boutiques all over the world. He is a gentleman from bygone days, who speaks four languages, loves telling anecdotes about his travels and collects umbrella-related prints. His umbrellas are entirely customized to the tastes of each client: every part is handmade and can be personalized, from the fabric, to the stick and the buttons.
The Watchmaker Master
The venetian city of Palladio, Vicenza, could almost be described as the world's goldsmith capital, with a tradition dating back to the XIV century and hosting a prestigious international Gold Fair: the VicenzaOro. Among hundreds of goldsmith's workshops, the company of Bettinardi family stands out for the production of crafted gold luxury watches: they create unique and exclusive products, entirely customized, with attention to every single piece, rigorously handmade. Learn about the story of the founder, Gastone, who in the 1970's, was able to break into the watch industry, acquiring important contacts which made his small artisan company to expand.
The Woodcarver Master
The Spini Woodcarving Atelier was started by Ernesto Spini in the 1930's in Florence, specializing in the woodcarving of frames. Today, the third generation- Luca and Barbara - joined the firm, adding to their classic catalogue a contemporary one (not only mirrors, but also chests, cabinets and chairs) and interpreting home décor as an ensemble of elements capable of characterizing the space in a unique fashion: classical and baroque forms are creatively revisited in a contemporary key and matched with unusual finishes created with the strictly manual application of gold, silver and copper leaf.
The Shoemaker Master
The Marche region is the undisputed homeland of Italian-made footwear: famous brands as Loriblu, Cesare Paciotti, Tod's were founded here; but there are also thousands of small businesses, involved in the ancient trade of shoemaking for generations. Franco Cimadamore is a third-generation shoemaker, specialized in handmade luxury shoes for men. The brand was born in the 1930's when his father and grandfather started what has become one of the most prestigious handcrafted realities in the industry of footwear. Each pair of shoes is customized with dedication as only the great craftsmen of the past knew how to do.
© photo Matthias Kabel
The Shirt-maker Master
They call him "the prince's tailor", since Prince William chose one of his shirts for his Royal Wedding. He is Angelo Inglese, man of great taste and elegance, whose biggest desire is to perpetuate traditions transmitted from his grandfather. Based in a small town, in the gorgeous sunny-kissed Apulia region, his family atelier has been opened in 1955. Angelo asserts it can take up to 30 hours to make a single shirt: still completely handmade, using the finest fabrics and mixing classic and innovative styles. Among his loyal customers, not only members of royal families, but also the former Japanese Prime Minister and the director Francis Ford Coppola.
The Goldsmith Master
Another important Italian "gold district", hometown of high-class Italian jewelry, is located in the Piedmont region. Here is based the workshop of Margherita Burgener, a designer boasting a family's century long tradition as goldsmith. Her jewels have been auctioned at all the major auction houses, including Phillips de Pury, Sotheby's, Christie's and Bonhams. She loves designing unique pieces, highly personalized, and be inspired by personal stories: a family gem, a memory... Burgener oversees with passion the ancient gestures of craftsmen and their increasingly rare skills, in the family workshop.
If you happen to be in the city they are based in, don't miss the opportunity to plan a visit to an artisan workshop or showroom, even privately, of course.
You won't find only unique and one of a kind items, made by competent hands; you'll be absolutely infected by their enthusiasm.
For all the information you need to find the top level master artisans spread all over Italy, contact our Creative lab.by Stefania on Dec 14, 2016