Craftsmanship in Arezzo: among gold, iron and cloth

The craftsmanship in Arezzo adds a piece to the mosaic of the beauty of the city. Here the art of handmade joins a knowledge handed down by voice, from generation to generation, in the workshops and in small companies.

The craftsmanship in Arezzo reflects the characteristics and history of each territory. A heritage made of technique, good taste and research, in which the best of the past is still preserved intact today.

Arezzo, City of gold

Stronghold of local craftsmanship, the goldsmith in Arezzo is more an art than a craft. It was the Etruscans who spread it into the territory. Their talented masters reduced gold into many grains before welding them on a fine foil in the desired shape, a particular and refined technique still known today as Etruscan processing.

Take a nice leap in time and get to the Middle Ages. The goldsmith shops have multiplied in the city. Who is it so successful for? The nobles of Arezzo began to commission jewelry, but, above all, these customers were connected to the Papacy.

In the fourteenth century the crafts of Arezzo began to turn towards mainly religious commission. This is how crosses, reliquaries, chalices and monstrances became the pride of the city’s art.

Fundamental date in the goldsmith’s history of the city:1926. Carlo Zucchi and Leopoldo Gori founded Unoaerre, still the main goldsmith’s company in Arezzo. From small artisans’ workshops to industry, a nice leap forward for the City of Gold.

To appreciate for yourself the skill of our goldsmiths, just go to the jewelry store and ask to see some creations made in Arezzo. You can closely observe masterpieces, unique pieces or small series of precious objects. An elegant design and the inimitable expertise of contemporary goldsmiths blend with the Etruscan teachings.

Gold craftsmanship in Arezzo
The goldsmith in Arezzo is more an art than a craft.

Wrought iron from Casentino

Another stop on your journey through the wonders of Arezzo craftsmanship is the Casentino valley. The valley is historically a cradle of the art of making. From its workshops, where you work wrought iron, come out the wonders of the expert Casentino forgers, now valuable pieces of furniture, in the past (since the Sixteenth century!) even agricultural tools.

A gem? The link between the processing of iron and Casentino is also traced in the Divine Comedy. In the Inferno Dante meets the forger Mastro Adamo, who manufactured with the technique of wrought iron tarot florins for the Conti Guidi, lords of the Casentino. And he did it in the Castello di Romena in Pratovecchio, right in Casentino territory.

The centuries-old tradition of wrought iron is enhanced by the European Biennial Art Factory in Stia. Among the creators of the event, born in the 70s, also Ivan Bruschi, the father of the Antique Fair of Arezzo.

Participating in the Biennial will be an exciting and evocative experience. You will have the chance to learn more about wrought iron by chatting with the custodians of ancient and refined knowledge.

Biennale Europea d’Arte Fabbrile di Stia
The centuries-old tradition of wrought iron is enhanced by the European Biennial Art Factory in Stia. Photo by Carlo Gabrielli.

Arezzo to wear, the Casentino cloth

Comfortable, warm and resistant, even the Casentino cloth is a pearl of Arezzo craftsmanship. The fabric is distinguished by its curl, which was once obtained by brushing the wool with a stone.

As early as the Renaissance, the friars of La Verna and Camaldoli wore cassocks sewn with these cloths. But the wool of Casentino so treated is at least seven hundred years old.

Soft and waterproof, the Casentino cloth today is a sciccheria that everyone would like in the closet. It will amuse you to discover that the symbol of this famous wool, the typical orange-red was originally the result of an error in the use of rubia, a vegetable dye.

And this is just one of the secrets that you will know by visiting the Wool Art Museum in Stia in the former wool mill in the country, in operation until the 80s. Here they made the military clothes of the Savoy and for a certain period, the clothes for the Italian army. The old machinery, the ledgers and the vintage photos illustrate a very rooted wool practice in this area.

And the Casentino could not miss even on high fashion catwalks: since it has been noticed and enhanced by major clothing brands, the Casentino cloth is a product of international importance, with immense pride of the inhabitants of the valley. Another star in the firmament of Arezzo craftsmanship.

wool museum of Stia
The symbol colour of this famous wool is the typical orange-red. Foto di Leonardo Gori.

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