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Venice and the High Art of the Mask

Many cultures have enjoyed the playful freedom that one feels after donning a mask. But no place has taken it to greater extremes, both elegant and diabolical, than Venice. A tour of the world of Venetian masks, and the annual Carnival mega-party they have inspired.

Story by ERLA ZWINGLE
Photography by RICCARDO ROITER RIGONI and ERLA ZWINGLE

View “How Carlo Setti Makes a Traditional Leather Mask”

Watch “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.

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

Watch “Painting for Eternity”

For anyone who appreciates the intricately decorated walls and ceilings found in many Old World houses of worship, some of the finest examples of the form can be found in the mosaics of Ravenna, Italy. The tradition is so central to Ravenna’s culture that the city still produces world-renowned mosaic artisans to this day. This…

Painting for Eternity

For anyone who appreciates the intricately decorated walls and ceilings found in many Old World houses of worship, some of the finest examples of the form can be found in the mosaics of Ravenna, Italy. This tradition is so central to Ravenna’s culture that the city continues to produce world-renowned mosaic artisans. One, who you will meet in this film, is an innovative artist named Francesca Fabbri.

A Film by LUISA GROSSO

Listen to “The Revival of Nero’s Wine”

Throughout history vintners used clay vessels to age their wine, until the French discovered the marvels of the oak barrel. Now—for fun, for distinctly different flavors, and to save some fine old trees—a few wineries are giving clay a second chance, Roman style.

The Healing Power of “Bello”

On the Northeastern coast of Italy, not far from such meccas of refinement as Bologna and Florence, an unusual drug treatment community named San Patrignano has grown and thrived for more than 40 years. The program’s methodology? Teach people who are struggling with addiction high-level artisanal skills, and slowly but surely, confidence and pride fill what was once a desperate void.

By LAURA FRASER

Watch “The Art of the Hat”

An homage, in film, to a third-generation Italian artisan—the last maker of the traditional, handcarved wooden shapes that are used as hat blocks.

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