Walk into Via dell’Orso, Via del Pellegrino, Via dei Banchi Vecchi visiting artisans’ shops.
With private connoisseur guiding.
ROME MASTERS ARTISANS
Rome Master Artisans is dedicated to those who like to slow down while traveling, spending some time to catch the real ‘soul’ of a city, rather than just eagerly striving to see as much as possible.
Away from major monuments and crowded sites, our Rome Master Artisans tour explores three different areas, Via dell’ Orso, Via del Pellegrino and Via dei Banchi Vecchi and the surrounding alleys.
Along these ancient, narrow, fascinating streets, a handful of ‘heroic’ artisans still perpetuate their art and struggle everyday to survive the mounting tide of big chain stores and low-quality souvenirs’ shops.
The chance of meeting some of them, exploring their old shops, listen to their stories and personal opinions, and the possibility of buying some of their creations, will certainly enrich your Roman holiday.
Our suggestion is to visit an artistic paper shop at Via dell’Orso, a reed and wicker objects maker and repairer at Via del Pellegrino, a micro-mosaic artist at Via dei Banchi Veccni.
Considering that the three locations are not too distant from one another, we’ll spend about four hours, including a stop for a refreshing artisan-made gelato near Campo de’ Fiori, and a final glass of wine with some munchies around Via Giulia in a quiet local ambiance.
Via dell’ Orso is famous for its high density of artisans’ ateliers, and, although you’re just few steps away from busy Piazza Navona, it still retains much of its original Medieval atmosphere.
Federica has created a fantastic world ofpaper and cardboard boxes, albums, home decorations, good part of which can be personalized – there’s an incredible variety of papers from all over the world – and made for you just in front of your eyes.
If paper doesn’t attract you Via dell’ Orso – ‘orso’ meaning ‘bear’ in Italian, might tempt you instead with a prestigious goldsmith, who has spent decades experimenting the ancient techniques for his creations, or as an alternative, we could visit the atelier of a top notch mosaic maker and restorer, whose splendid works will impress you for their refinement and accuracy.
Via del Pellegrino, not far from colorful and busy Campo de’ Fiori, has an ancient and vaguely Middle Eastern charm, dotted as it is of mysterious dark archways and hidden courtyards. Many traditional activities still survive here, including some very old-fashioned trattorias and a handful of stubborn artisans.
Our choice has fallen on a family run activity, the father started it in the 60es, the son has been working here since the age of 13. The specialty of the shop/laboratory is restoring and caning old chairs, tables and armchairs and producing a variety of totally handmade wicker-work and basket-ware.
Supporting these artisans by appreciating and buying their creations will contribute to keep away from these museum-like streets the impersonal brands that are literally invading all the planet! Diversity is a great cultural richness and we must do what we can to preserve it!
In Via del Pellegrino, as an alternative to artisan-made straw hats, bags and baskets, you might like to peep into
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a small shop stuffed with an incredible variety of bicycles for any taste or age, that the Collalti family has been producing and repairing since 1899. It is a sort of institution in Rome, where some people still dare to face the crazy traffic riding a bike…
Another opportunity is that of visiting a creative lab founded by two women in 1992: a glass and a ceramic artisan, that won’t stop working while talking to you, they are so passionate! They are happy to work with other artisans and the atmosphere inside is young and …refreshing!
After a stop to savor a delicious gelato we stroll a little further into the more rarified ambiance of Via dei Banchi Vecchi – referring to Florentine bankers – lined with Renaissance buildings with curious reliefs and inscriptions.
If you love precious, unusual jewelry, here you find one of the seven master artisans still able to do micro-mosaic objects. The technique was invented in Rome at the end of the 18th century by an alchemist and consists in obtaining infinitely small tesserae made of glass enamel and then in laying them down on copper or gold or ebony to create a landscape or a portrait. The earliest micro-mosaics ere reproducing scenes from Pompeii, that were fashionable when the new technique was developed. They made a great souvenir for the tourists of the Grand Tour.
The mosaic is so minute that at first sight it looks like a painting. Maestro Luigi Faraoni and his business partner are still working completely by hands. The technique is traditionally used to make earrings, cufflinks and watches. The workshop also restores antique pieces.
Our Rome master Artisans will end with a glass of wine and something to eat in a quiet local pub in the area between Via dei Banchi Vecchi and Via Giulia, an inspiring area of Rome where time seems to have stopped.
If you liked our Rome Master Artisans tour see similar tours in Florenceand Venice.
Cost of this tour
This tour lasts four hours and costs 370 euros up to six people (not per person), only private parties.
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