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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.


Prisoner Rehabilitation, Italian Style—through Winemaking

In 2012, Maria Grazia Giampiccolo sent an email to the directors of more than 100 Italian wineries asking for help producing wine on the smallest island off Tuscany, Italy, where a hectare of grapevines were languishing. Both the island and the request were unusual: Giampiccolo is the director of the penitentiary on Gorgona, a pristine…

Watch “The Philosophy of ‘Bello'”

San Patrignano, a unique, intentional community in Italy, has been using craftsmanship to rehabilitate people struggling with substance abuse disorder for more than 40 years. And its success rates are stunning.

The Art of Lace: A Resource Guide

The emotional and aesthetic power of lace seems to keep turning up in all sorts of secondary forms (including patterns on acrylic fingernails). Therefore, in addition to some standard literature resources, you might glance at some of the creative ways in which lace’s elegance is being repurposed, but also added to very unrelated items. The…

Women Who Embroider the Air

In Burano—a tiny island 4 miles from the city of Venice—the ancient art of ultra-fine, hand-sewn lace somehow remains alive. And so does the equally ancient culture surrounding it. Our correspondent visits with the master craftswomen of Burano to learn their history, their secrets, and the prospects for their future.


The Evolution of Burano Lace

Women started making lace as a fancy substitute for embroidery because it could be transferred easily from one garment to another as fashions changed. Before long, it was an industry. Here is a timeline of what came to be famously called Burano lace, as it evolved from aristocratic pastime to international commodity: 1546:  The first…

A Tale of Two Vermouths

In a small town outside Torino, Italy, the age-old Vermouth giant, Martini & Rossi has turned this beverage into a model of what might be called industrial spirits craftsmanship. Our correspondent goes visiting, then returns stateside to watch a small one-man shop create the modern artisanal version. What are differences, and why do they matter?


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