Botteghiamo Walks

July 10, 2014 / Local Interest
Rome, Lazio

The good folks at Botteghiamo are at it again. (We wrote about them and their work to promote the traditional botteghe of artisans still present in Rome here and here.) They are now beginning to host audio guided walking tours in various rioni (the old neighborhoods of Rome) that visit artisans’ workshops, give you the background info for each trade, and introduce you to the artisans personally… cabinet makers, inlayers, embroiderers, upholsterers, restorers, ceramicists, stoneworkers, tailors, goldsmiths, lampshade makers, sculptors, and shoemakers among others.

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Most artisans in Rome tend to be pretty laid back and outgoing, yet unless you need a wooden chair restored or a tear in a rug repaired, how likely are you to just stop by for a chat? Botteghiamo’s approach is to treat the tradesmen and women as fully functioning living components of the city, rather than as some quaint old tradition that must be preserved. Botteghiamo figures that the best way to get others to feel the same way is to physically accompany you to the workshops, introduce you to these experts, and have a fun chat.

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It was great to see lighbulbs go off above the heads of the people on the walks. Almost across the board, everyone at some point had a “Oh yeah! Actually, now that I think of it I do have an XYZ that needs fixing! So nice to meet you Mr./Mrs.So-and-so. I’ll swing by next week and bring it,” or something to that effect. Usually followed by a “Huh, yeah, why didn’t I think of coming in sooner?” muttered on the way out.

Demystifying the “allure” and “charm” of the old trades is probably Botteghiamo’s greatest accomplishment. And having the occasional event such as the one held the other day in a beautiful Roman piazza to launch the walks at which delicious cremolate (frozen fruit pulp) as well as wine were served and at which artisans ply their trade doesn’t hurt either.

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Now, must get those sun damaged breakfront doors to Matteo (Petrosemolo), the ebanista (cabinetmaker).

Contact Botteghiamo in you’re interested in taking their artigiano walk. Tel.06 6830 1041

The great photos are by Liliana Ranalletta, grazie infinite!! The bad ones are mine. -ed.

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Bravi for your great work!

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GB

by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

10 Responses to “Botteghiamo Walks”

  1. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    Such a fine educational work being accomplished by this group.Encouraging the use and benefits of use of these superior craftsmen and artisans. This will continue for a period of time hopefully covering the lifetimes of today’s ‘specialty operators’ of these wonderful shops. Yet what of tomorrow? Are we also helping the new generation see the true value of artsmanship? We must keep a bit of the mystery, the ‘allure’ the ‘charm’ to make it appealing to our youth. Helping them to understand the worth of not having all things come from a machine or a can. If this can be accomplished, then Italy will remain,not only as a place for tourist but a place of life and culture. It will be the Italy we love and want to preserve.

    Reply
  2. Beverly Scaglione

    Loved this article, wish I could be there and take a tour!

    Reply
  3. Roseann

    What a great experience! I’ll be in a group on my next trip back to Roma, without a doubt.

    Reply
  4. Anna Mangus

    What a wonderful thing that these artisans and craftspeople are being supported by the community! Great article.

    Reply
  5. Loved the final picture – sums up the spirit of the Roman people!

    Reply
  6. Jan Johnson

    Thanks GB and congratulations to the artisans for their initiative. I’ll be in Rome soon and they’re on my list. Wonder if they’d restore a chair with significant provenance which is currently in Australia….

    Reply
  7. Favoloso! I will be in Roma in early October and hope to be able to take this artisan walk! I so enjoy doing and writing about artisan visits!
    Grazie!
    Victoria

    Reply
  8. Lina Falcone

    Bellissimo, vado a Roma in Agosto e spero di fare questa camminata per L’Arte.
    Grazie mille.

    Reply
  9. Robert Hayward

    What a great way to repolish Rome’s cultural jewels. What many of us Western visitors truly value about Italy.

    Reply

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