The master craftsmen of semi-precious stone mosaic, the so-called "Florentine salesman", can be counted on the fingers of one hand. IS Renzo Scarpelli, class 1947, is one of them. Since 1960, when a boy entered Giovanni Fiaschi's laboratory to "steal the trade with his eyes", he never stopped practicing this ancient art, which has remained unchanged in techniques and materials since the sixteenth century. Heir of the Florentine artisans of the Medici court, Scarpelli today it carries out its work with the same passion as always. His workshop "Mosaic shoes”, Located a stone's throw from the Duomo of Florence, has over time become a laboratory and gallery to give the right emphasis to unique works of art.
From here, every year, 24 thousand visitors pass, attracted by jewels, paintings, tables which, exploiting all the shades of natural stones, depict Tuscan landscapes, Florence and the Arno, children and animals playing, rural scenes, seascapes, still lifes , flowers. An Italian excellence, appreciated all over the world for its uniqueness. Just think that 80% of the production is absorbed by the United States. Together with Renzo, there is an entire family: starting with his wife, Gabriella, up to his son Leonardo, also a mosaic master, and his daughter Catia, who takes care of the commercial part. In addition to a team of specialized collaborators.
Today the story of this family, united in the name of the Florentine salesman, is told as an exciting adventure in a prestigious volume enriched with historical and artistic information, and splendid images: "Noi Scarpelli, a story in Florence"(Conti Tipocolor, 130 euro editions, under the patronage of Associazione OMA - Osservatorio dei Mestieri d'Arte). The book, for sale at the gallery, intertwines the history of Florence and the art of the clerk with family events, artistic experiences, curiosities, as well as an overview of the works by Scarpelli that from Florence have gone to embellish homes around the world.
"With this work we don't just tell our story. Our intent is also to leave a concrete trace of the work that has been done in recent years and of how our family has kept intact a splendid tradition of craftsmanship in danger of extinction »he explains Catia Scarpelli.
"The future of this art is now more uncertain than ever, the generational turnover is very low, yet the world continues to appreciate and desire works in the Florentine salesman", he comments Alessandro Sorani, president of Confartigianato Florence. «Renzo Scarpelli's work, both as a craftsman and as an entrepreneur, must be considered a model to follow. I am sure this book will also have the task of stimulating young artisans to approach a technique as complex as it is fascinating, certainly tiring, but also capable of having an important market ».
«The workshop of the Scarpelli family is the witness of one of the most representative arts of our Florentine tradition and this volume contains many secrets. In telling us the story, he gives us an example of wisdom and great success in managing the traditional activity according to the contemporary model where the story and the marketing activity are very important alongside the shop, to promote the communication of the product and for limestone as protagonists, the stages of the most important kermesse dedicated to the excellence of art crafts, such as Homo Faber for example »adds Maria Pilar Lebole, head of the OMA Association - Observatory of Art Professions.