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The Ancient Mangle of Santarcangelo di Romagna

In a tiny town on Italy’s Northeastern coast, the Marchi family printworks may be the world’s last shop to produce handmade, rust-printed textiles from raw hemp, using a massive stone press dating to the 1600s.

Fall 2021, Summer 2019

Italy’s Ancient Textile-Printing Mangle

Only a handful of artisans still practice the centuries-old craft of rust printing on fabric. Of those who do, even fewer use the traditional stone mangle, or press, on handwoven, raw hemp fabric, yielding textiles that can last for centuries. The Marchi family printworks, in Italy’s Romagna region, may well be the only place left in the world that still produces authentic, rust-printed textiles that are fully handmade.

Story and Film by LUISA GROSSO

Women Who Embroider the Air

On a small island near Venice, the fine art of handmade lace somehow remains alive. Our correspondent visits with the master craftswomen of Burano to learn their history, their secrets, and the prospects for their future.

The Book Doctor

Master book restorer Pietro Livi couldn’t find the right equipment to save large numbers of Italy’s priceless, flood-damaged texts. So he created a “Renaissance workshop” of experts from a variety of disciplines, and designed his own.

Summer 2021

Italy’s Book Doctor

In the city of Bologna, home to the world’s oldest university (as well as some of Italy’s finest cuisine), Pietro Livi has developed an unusual machine shop. Part artisanal and part high-tech, his operation is a kind of Renaissance workshop, built to restore damaged ancient texts to their former glory. And then came Venice’s historic floods of 2019.

By LUISA GROSSO

Spring 2021, Spring 2018

The World’s Greatest Goldbeater

Marino Menegazzo spends his days hammering gold leaf into sheets so fine that your slightest touch will make them dissolve. His workshop—a simple brick building hidden on one of Venice’s myriad piazzas—was once the home and studio of Titian, Italy’s immortal Renaissance painter. Come visit with the world’s last true master of handmade gold leaf—an ancient craft where the hand can still beat the machine, every time.

By ERLA ZWINGLE

The Soul of the Italian Shoe

In Venice, Italy, a city built for endless walking, a determined young woman named Daniela Ghezzo has mastered the rare art of simultaneously beautifying and comforting the human foot.

The World’s Greatest Goldbeater

Marino Menegazzo hammers gold leaf by hand into sheets 200 times thinner than a human hair. He works in the same studio where Titian, one of Italy’s great Renaissance artists, once lived and painted. Now Menegazzo’s craft, where the hand can still beat a machine, is on the edge of extinction.

The Hidden Powers of The Forcola

How can a single oar give orders to a 36-foot boat that weighs 350 kilos (772 pounds) and why does the gondola obey? The answer is the forcola (FOUR-koh-la), the gondola’s oarlock, which is characterized by a unique, serpentine shape and is made of nothing more than wood. Each rowing position on each type of…

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