Semplice, no?

September 19, 2014 / Art & Archaeology
Rome, Italy

A beautifully handcrafted, Italian designed line of jewelry, the GrandTour Collection, made by our new friends Micaela and Roberto Borrazzi below. Take a look, the response has been excellent so far… enjoy!

Enchanted by the way the light played with the terracotta-toned patina of the facade of a Roman building, a visitor asked “How do you make your buildings look like this?”

The answer was as forthcoming as it was “obvious”.

“Easy,” replied the Roman, “you paint a building, wait 60 years, and there you go. Semplice.” (simple)

I’m sharing the above anecdote because it is related to how I felt upon meeting siblings Roberto and Micaela Borrazzi (designers and makers of the collection featured in this note), in terms of a question I’ve often wondered about.


Sure, Italy has lots of art and antiquities. But specifically, how does all of that translate into all the world-class design, fashion, and art coming out of contemporary Italy. Is it some juju-process that occurs by osmosis? As in, art and antiquity super-saturation equals (boing!) Gucci?

I have always wondered what the actual mechanism is.. how do you get so much excellence in Italian design?


Easy. Take a Signor and Signora Borrazzi, who open a jewelry and watch/clock repair shop in the center of Rome in 1947 and spend their entire lives mastering the artisanal skills needed to handle, repair, and create beautiful objects. Ensure that their little boy grows up in said shop, continuously surrounded by precious handcrafted mechanical works of art and magic, so that he is subconsciously imbued at a visceral level with an awareness of the know-how and mastery that is required to “make” such items.

Have young Borrazzi grow up and with his wife take over his parent’s shop and morph it into an antique store, on Via dei Coronari no less, Rome’s pre-eminent antique row since time immemorial. Ensure that their children, in turn, grow up surrounded by antiquity and art, so that they too are subconsciously imbued at a visceral level with an awareness of history, aesthetics, value, and legacy.


Now take those Borrazzi children, Micaela and Roberto, and once they are grown up have them take over their parent’s antique store and morph it into a gallery (still on Via dei Coronari) that showcases and sells rare objects personally selected by them from around the world. Have them continuously search for new challenges and play with new ideas. In a nutshell (some nutshell!), have them parlay the legacy of their grandparents’ artisanal handcraft mastery and of their parents’ rich historical aesthetic into their very own contemporary interpretation of fine craftsmanship that re-proposes items of art from Italy’s “Grand Tour,” thereby translating beauty from the past into our present lives.

And there you go. Semplice, no?


In keeping with ItalianNotebook’s desire to highlight the best of Italy, our online store ItalianConnections (ItlnCnxns for short) is so very happy to share our new friends Micaela and Roberto’s beautiful and unique line of Italian art and craftsmanship, the GrandTour Collection.

Think “Happy Holidays” or simply “Happy you!”

(A greater selection can be seen on our site ItalianConnections)




by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

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