Artisan Quarter Tours of Florence
Artisan Quarter Tour
Behind-the-scenes visits to working 'bottegas' in the old
artisan district of Florence allow you to see a non-touristy side of
Florence which leaves a lasting impression and reveals the creative
fabric of this renaissance city of the arts.
Direct contact with the artisans, who are always happy to
explain their working processes, help you to learn and understand the
beauty of these traditional crafts. Awe-inspiring examples of 'pietre
dure' or hard stone inlay, gilding, decorative painting and
silverbeating can be admired in the museums of Florence. Your personal
tour of the artisan quarter can add greatly to your appreciation of the
works in the museums, and the talent of the contemporary masters. For
people who are seeking a direct contact with an artisan to commission
work, or to buy directly from the producer are encouraged to speak to
the artisans directly.
We are artisans running a studio of decorative arts in Florence. It is a
love for what we do that inspired us to offer this tour to all who share
our own fascination with artistic craft. Our long standing contacts with
in the artisan community enable us to show you selected workshops that
are truly interesting and inspiring.
The Artisan Tour itinerary usually consists of visits
• studio for restoration of wood gilded objects and paintings
• a silversmith workshop
• marble inlay and scagliola studio
• possibly an unscheduled visit on route depending on time and interest
More details about the Artisan Quarter
most unique thing we offer to visitors on a trip to Florence is a behind
the scenes look at the artisans at work. Since renaissance times this
has been a city of "bottegas", or small artisan workshops. The tradition
continues today. On the south side of the Arno in the Artisans quarter
we visit a restoration workshop and school. We enter through a large
door on a backstreet. The workshop itself is arranged around an internal
courtyard, hidden from the street. Sixteenth century altarpieces and
candelabra sit on the work benches at different stages of restoration.
Canvases to be cleaned and repaired line the walls. Pop music plays on
the radio and the upbeat atmosphere created by the young owners here
perhaps belies the fact that this is one of the finest restoration
workshops in the world. Florence has had a lot of experience in the
restoration field, including the aftermath of the 1966 flood. Antonio,
one of the owners, tells us the story of how they brought him what was
left of a painting after the bombing at the Uffizi of a few years ago.
The painting was in shards and was delivered in a plastic bag. The
completed restoration looks something like a jigsaw puzzle with a lot of
pieces missing, a visual reminder of an act of terrorism.
Just a few streets over there is a workshop where they continue the
traditional art of marble inlay. This was an art that reached its height
under the Medici grand dukes. They would send these artistic creations
as gifts to the crowned heads of Europe when they wanted to impress.
Here in the storage room we get to examine all kinds of exquisite
marbles in their raw, unpolished form. Orlando, one of the owners, wets
them for us with a spray bottle and the colours emerge. Today they still
bring in slabs from Carrara, the same place Michelangelo got his marble.
In the workroom they are inlaying the surface of a large dining room
table for an Arab prince in Paris. It is about 5 metres long and weighs
Onward, we find gilders and painters at work, hand decorating furniture
with curling leaf designs inspired by the 15th century patterns in their
neighbourhood church of Santo Spirito. In one cramped workshop, piled
high with gilded frames and chairs to be restored, Beppe the wood carver
will let us choose one of his delicately carved wall sconces, or he will
restore one of the small Venetian carved candlesticks in need of repair.
We can then discuss having it painted and gilded by Guiseppe, the
gilder. The prices aren't bad and its definitely worth it if you will be
staying for more than a few days. You get the pleasure of an object made
by hand especially for you, what better souvenir?
# of people
€ 40 per
person with 3 people
€ 28 per
person with 5 people
€ 25 per person
€ 25 per person
€ 25 per person
meeting place is at half point of Ponte Vecchio by the bust of
Itineraries are subject to change depending on seasonal factors, and
opening hours of artisan studios.
For more details and bookings
contact FlorenceArt at
For full contact info see the contact us page
Copyright © FlorenceArt. All Rights Reserved