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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Artisans in Rome - perhaps a dying breed

The carefully collected and preserved tools of the restorer.
Rome still hosts true artisans, although lamentations can be heard throughout the city that they are being driven out by tourism (wine bars, international brand stores).

We were delighted one day to be invited to the restoration shop of one of Bill's fellow soccer players, Maurizio (the only name by which we knew him).  "Come visit my shop," Maurizio kept saying to Bill as they left the soccer field time and again.  Being suspicious Americans, we anticipated being in an awkward position of having to buy something we couldn't afford or didn't want.  We were so off the mark.
Maurizio Carletti, not stopping his work even to chat, and his uncle, who
praises his skill.

Maurizio wanted to show us his artisan expertise in restoration. His one-room shop is crammed with tools, some of them over 100 years old.  He learned his trade from his father, who opened the shop in 1966, but, his uncle told us, Maurizio's skills surpass the father's (and the uncle's).
Showing us valuable compounds.

Maurizio also makes his own compounds for restoration, especially gilding.  He thought about expanding his business to, for example, London, but he couldn't figure out a way to bring his special compounds into that country.

Since we were at the shop, we found a Web site Maurizio maintains, in English, and a Facebook page, and an Italian site, devoted to artisans in the province of Lazio (home of Rome).
Before and after pictures of Maurizio's work.

Maurizio too bemoans the decline in his trade; this kind of furniture is not prized as much by the modernist and post-modernist younger generations.  You can only restore so many pieces for the French Embassy or Museo Braschi, it appears.  And, of course, rents are going up in this hot tourist area around Piazza Navona.  But, like other lamenters, we hope Rome will find a way to maintain these artisans, who are such a critical part of Rome life.

Stop by and look - Laboratorio Restauro Carletti, via del Teatro Pace, 26.

Tools you can't find anymore.
More tools.
Maurizio took a break after clamping this down.

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