Artisans still exist

There are still skilled craftsmen and artisans working in Venice, and I met two of them in one day.

The first is a  fabbro ferraio (favro in Venetian, it seems), that is, a worker in iron, a blacksmith. I noticed his shop in a narrow calle in Castello because of his window display.


Models of Rialto Bridge and San Marco


Further examples of the work he does

 The favro is Primo Bollani, and this is his cramped workshop.


Primo Bollani, (blacksmith) Castello, 5567

I really plead with you to look at his website, to gain some appreciation of what he has done, and is trying to achieve.  (English version)

I crossed the Rialto Bridge to do some wandering in San Polo, and met another delightful, unassuming artist, Giovanni Vio. He has a tiny shop outlet on Calle de la Madoneta, 1459 to display some of the many ceramic and terracotta items he has made, and offers for sale.


My modest purchase

Giovanni has a studio on the Lido, where he does his work, and also gives lessons to those wanting to learn this art form. He also does restoration work, a skill learned from his father and grandfather.

He is the grandson of Romano Vio, a Venetian sculptor born 100 years ago. A tribute to him is currently on in Venice, until 26 aprile.

Again, I urge you to have a look at Giovanni’s website (also available in English).

These two hard-working talented men (and others like them) deserve more attention (and customers); please help keep their art alive!



Filed under Venice

22 responses to “Artisans still exist

  1. Yvonne, Il Pavone Stamperia is the lovely paper shop we visited in March 2010 where I bought several lovely items including a beautiful address book.


  2. Pam D

    We found vio art in san polo just a few days before we left venezia in March this year we wanted to take something terracotta back depicting St Marks Lion we agree meeting Venetian artisian who are so generous in there time another artisian place to visit is il pavone in Dosudoro a stamperia for hand printed paper note books &other gifts now online also Alberta Sabrina who makes marionette &masks so generous with his time purchased a colombina marionette


  3. That’s a good idea, Mary, for your new home! Giovanni had some exceptionally tempting wares in his shop.


  4. MaryK

    Thank you for these Yvonne. I love finding the artisans in Venice – they’re all so justifiably passionate about what they’re doing.

    I can see some shopping on the horizon. Perhaps some new house numbers?


  5. Caroline

    How lovely, and what lovely experiences for you! I wish I was as good as you at talking to people.


  6. Hmm, I was thinking I needed a little lion for my patio…for the next couple of years till I make the move. A little one might be nice. Of course my taste is for a more expensive one.
    Thanks for finding these.


  7. Artisans of this nature deserve to be supported. Aren’t all that many of them around.


  8. Yvonne…..Thanks so much for bringing these two artists to our attention.
    I think that is one of my top reasons for loving Venezia….the artists!! They are tucked away in so many of her corners.
    Geeze if we had time and inclination….we should put together a booklet of the artists we have met….a book seems wayyyyy too ambitious.


    • Well, Linda, in my corner, plenty of time, but less and less inclination.

      I’m still trying to meet Laura who does exquisite jewelry with stained glass. But, she has limited hours just now. I’ll track her down once I’ve moved to Cannaregio in a couple of weeks time. Baci a te, cara.


  9. Andrew

    I may buy the lion fountain to make a small water feature on our balcony. Thanks for these finds Yvonne.


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