The production and decoration of weapons has ancient origins in the Brescia area. As early as 400 BC, the Celtic inhabitants of Val Trompia manufactured weapons, with which they did battle against other populations, including the Raeti and the Cenomani. Following their alliance with Rome, they supplied the empire with many of the swords used in the...

Tanning was one of the earliest human activities. The first evidence of leather being used for clothes, sandals or the creation of objects such as water containers and boats comes from the writings of the Sumerians. The art of tanning was present in antiquity amongst cultures such as the Babylonians, Hittites, Persians, Egyptians, Jews, Shiites, Gr...

The Sicilian Puppet Theatre (Opra) is a characteristic theatre performance where the puppets, animated by “puppeteers”, represent the exploits of the greatest medieval heroes who fought for Christendom against the Saracens. In particular, the most recurrent theme in the Opra was the clash between the paladins of Charlemagne and the Muslim warriors...

Until a few decades ago, only a few examples of sixteenth-century Castelli majolica were known to have survived, mainly attributed to the Pompeii family, whose best well-known ceramic artist was Orazio (ca. 1507-1588/9). His house is also well-known, due to the inscription on the lintel of a window: “Haec domus east Oratii figuli 1562” (“This is th...

Starting from the nineteenth century, a ceramics culture develops in the Cuneo province of Monregalese. The manufacturers of silk and woollen cloth for military use govern the area’s vibrant economy and trade with neighbouring towns and Liguria. On finding the production of “fine earthenware” to be an important growth area, the Jacobin doctor Franc...

For centuries, wood was the raw material that every mountain community relied on to meet the needs of everyday life. In its most traditional forms, woodworking is the most direct response that people were able to find for their everyday needs. Over time, this immediacy has given way to a tradition, which in the province of Trento has combined funct...

The art of papier-mâché in Lecce, a phenomenon unique to Apulia, dates back to a period between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the development of arts was linked to the increasing number of churches and monuments.  At this time, the craftsmen of Lecce discovered that the art of “plasticising” paper allowed them to create myriad sacr...

In the 12th century, tapestries and tablecloths were woven in the Umbria area using the French “bird’s eye” motif technique. These embroideries were created primarily on fabrics, often for use in a liturgical setting, and featured geometric shapes or stylized animals and people. Over the following centuries, tablecloths from Perugia were used throu...

In the area that is today Friuli Venezia-Giulia, since ancient times, various populations such as the Euganeans and Venetians have contributed to the development of metal crafts and metal processing. Jewellery making is the barbarian art par excellence. The filigree and silver and gold plating decorate a nomad body like a welcoming space. Shi'ite a...

In ancient times coral finds its popularity as an amulet, as evidenced especially by the classic "cornetto", Italian for "little horn" or "hornlet", an amulet worn to protect against the evil eye. It was believed also to have beneficial effects on female fertility and to protect children from harm. Widespread belief among the Romans, who used to pu...