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There’s no doubt that Italians are talented craftsmen and creative designers, their craftsmanship is known all over the world. From Ettore Sottsass‘s quirky Memphis furniture to Gio Ponti‘s lustrous pieces, Italy has been a leader in innovative, beautiful, and high-quality design for decades. There’s a reason why Salone del Mobile, one of the best and most notorious art and furniture design showcases in the world, is based in Milan since 1961. Italian craftsmanship always was internationally celebrated.

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Craftsmanship: The Most Exquisite Italian Arts and Crafts craftsmanship Craftsmanship: The Most Exquisite Italian Arts and Crafts The Most Exquisite Italian Craftsmanship Memphis Design Living Room Ettore Sottsass
Interior Design with Memphis Furniture inspired by Ettore Sottsass’ craftsmanship works. Photo: ©wmagazine

Brianza, for example, is considered the craftsmanship-design district, halfway between Milan and Lake Como. It is a mesmerizing place, in which over the past two centuries noble and affluent families built many villas. These constructions required the skillful hands of master artisans and experts which furnished the breathtaking houses. This is the motive why such a fine and precious know-how survived there, as a crucial part of the region’s legacy. Some traditional craftsmanship knowledge can’t even be found anywhere else in Italy.

Craftsmanship: The Most Exquisite Italian Arts and Crafts craftsmanship Craftsmanship: The Most Exquisite Italian Arts and Crafts The Most Exquisite Italian Craftsmanship Gio Ponti MolteniC
“Single Units” belongs to Gio Ponti Collection from Molteni&C dedicated to the great Milanese craftsmanship master. Marked by hand-painted white drawer fronts with applied handles in various wood kinds (elm, Italian walnut, mahogany and rosewood). Chest of drawers designed in several versions in the period from 1952 to 1955. The new version was produced using original drawings kept in the Gio Ponti Archives and the art direction for the Gio Ponti Collection came from Studio Cerri & Associati. The elmwood frame rests on satin brass feet. Photo: ©Molteni
Craftsmanship: The Most Exquisite Italian Arts and Crafts craftsmanship Craftsmanship: The Most Exquisite Italian Arts and Crafts The Most Exquisite Italian Craftsmanship Brianza Artisan Tools
In Brianza, tools and materials become part of the master artisan’s life. Each time he shapes his piece, he puts his soul into it, he leaves a part of himself inside every craftsmanship masterpiece his hands create. Photo: ©mayanova

Since the 1950s, design entrepreneurs come to this area to collaborate with famous Italian and foreign artists, bringing to life of iconic furniture and lighting.

All the best Italian-made craftsmanship products merge together traditional craftsmanship and technology in an extremely detailed and almost perfect way. Artisan expertise has an irreplaceable value which allows delicate finishing details and final touches in all manufactured pieces. Human hands are capable of sensitivity and emotion while maintaining almost industrial precision.

Each hand-crafted art piece is truly unique since it is not being mass-produced. Every small little detail embraces the authenticity of its material and maker, a perfection in which flaws are features.

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Wood Carving Wonders in Italian Craftsmanship. Photo: ©fuorisalone

The popular saying “Love French. Drive German. Dress Italian” already assures us of the high quality of Italian design and craftsmanship. Just to name a few, BrioniBrunello CucinelliDolce & GabbanaErmenegildo ZegnaEtro, Fendi, Gucci, Armani, Kiton, Loro Piana, Paul Evans, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, and, of course, Versace, are all celebrated luxury brands with Italian origins. In luxury furniture and accessories we can also find Moooi and Swarovski, among many others.

Craftsmanship: The Most Exquisite Italian Arts and Crafts craftsmanship Craftsmanship: The Most Exquisite Italian Arts and Crafts The Most Exquisite Italian Craftsmanship Moooi Filigree Lamp
Craftsmanship: Moooi Filigree Dimmable LED Floor Lamp by Rick Tegelaar. Made of aluminum, brass and stainless steel. Photo: ©1stdibs
Craftsmanship: The Most Exquisite Italian Arts and Crafts craftsmanship Craftsmanship: The Most Exquisite Italian Arts and Crafts The Most Exquisite Italian Craftsmanship Moooi Filigree Lamp Interior Design
Craftsmanship: Moooi Filigree Floor Lamp Interior Design. Photo: ©Veko

Thanks to the nonstop evolution of technology, there are a million ways to use chemicals, for example, to tan leather. However, the best leather in the world is made by Italian tanners who use millennia-old traditions of au natural liming and dying. The result is a material that’s sturdier than any other on the market, as we can see in genuinely Italian-crafted shoes, which all have also a beautiful hand-painted finish. Also, most fabric mills use water that’s saturated with salt and minerals, which leads to fabric that’s covered in a thin, color-quashing layer. But Italian fabric mills are usually located in the North, an outstanding region in the south of Swiss Alp glaciers. Craftsmanship Italian mills use pure water to produce fabric, that’s why you won’t find a single thread covered in undesirable substances.

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It has been over 50 years since Tarcisio Munari founded the Munari company, preeminent in the field of backpacks, cases and leather bags in the 80’s. Since 1990, Munari has been developing its business in the office supplies, particularly with leather and leatherette desk sets, attaining ambitious goals and international awards and achieving a world leadership in this specific area. These notable brand and know-how, all italian, have been acquired and developed in 2012 by the Italian company ORNA (Verona), remaining faithful to craftsmanship and creativity and, at the same time, conforming to innovation and market demand.The 100% made in Italy production include professional bags, desk sets and accessories such as notepads, desk pads, letter cutters, paper holders, among others. Munari, a very well-known brand in the leather manifacturing, a choice of excellence, style, quality and craftsmanship, all made in Italy. Photo: ©Munari

Some companies have been around longer than entire nations. In fact, Vitale Barberis Canonico, a family-run fabric mill in Biella, the main textile supplier for the tailor maestros at Zegn, is working for fifteen generations, since the 1600s.

Handcrafting any piece is a slow and detailed process, which requires a burning passion for craftsmanshipArtisans are almost wizards, dedicating their lives to the magic of building extraordinary art with their own hands. A hand-crafted project can take weeks, months, years to be finished.

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Craftsmanship. Photo: ©Le Guide Parisian Gentleman
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Vitale Barberis Canonico First Showroom in Milan. Photo: ©vitalebarberiscanonico

In 2009, the Italian parliament passed a law prohibiting the use of the phrase “Made in Italy” on any product label unless the product is actually made in Italy, from start to finish. This was a strategy to protect the country’s precious reputation as a creator of the finest craftsmanship products.

From the columns of ancient Rome to Michelangelo’s David, style is carved into the stone of Italian life. There’s even a term for it: “La belle figura”, which literally means “the beautiful figure”, yet represents a lifestyle admired and followed, a trend, at all times and in all ways.

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Photo: ©Armani

Italian-crafted goods can handle really well the passage of time. Vintage cloths and furniture are always, always en vogue, especially if they are handcraftedhigh-qualitydesigner-made items. From Leonardo da Vinci to Poltrona Frau armchairs, from Armani and Prada to Tiramisu cake. Italians have several beautiful specific products of the highest level made by small producers, artists and artisans everywhere in the country. Pursuing a family traditioninnovatingcreating, finding new styles and raising quality is in the Italian blood, characteristics which will lead the country to a bright future.

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“Chester One Sofa” (1912) by Renzo Frau to Poltrona Frau. The vegetable horsehair of the padding in the backrest and armrests is hand-modelled. The springs are eight-way springs, tied by hand and supported on jute webbing. Photo: ©dreamdesign
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“Archibald Armchair” by Jean-Marie Massaud. Photo: ©Poltrona Frau

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