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Listen to “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.

Listen to “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…

View “Building a Gondola”

Venice, Gondolas, and Black Magic

After suffering a year of twin terrors—historic floods and the Covid pandemic—the makers of Venice’s legendary gondolas are struggling to survive. To understand the unique design, history, and mystery behind this much-loved boat, our correspondent spent a year with Roberto Dei Rossi, one of the city’s last master gondola makers.

By ERLA ZWINGLE

Watch “The Violins of Cremona”

Since the 16th century, Cremona’s luthiers—including Stradivari himself—have been using a particularly resonant wood from Paneveggio, known as Italy’s “violin forest,” to handcraft the world’s finest violins. Then a 2018 storm decimated the forest. A band of experts in Cremona is now rallying to save this iconic tradition.

Listen to “The Healing Power of ‘Bello'”

On the Northeastern coast of Italy, an unusual drug treatment center uses craftsmanship — and the strength of community — to rehabilitate some of Europe’s most intractable drug addicts.

Listen to “The Secrets of an Italian Gelato Master”

Gelato, it turns out, is a very different creature from ice cream. And there are reasons that the best gelato tastes so creamy yet somehow still light—and indescribably perfect. Is it the recipe? The method? Or something else? In honor of summer, we delve into the secrets of artisanal gelato-making from master gelatiere Andrea Soban…

Italy’s Endangered Violin Forest

Since the 16th century, Cremona’s luthiers—including Stradivari himself—have been using an unusually resonant wood from Paneveggio, known as Italy’s “violin forest,” to handcraft the world’s finest string instruments. Then a 2018 storm decimated the forest. A band of experts in Cremona is now rallying to save this iconic tradition. A documentary short.

Film by LUISA GROSSO

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