Chapter #1

My grandfather’s couches: made with Quarrata gold

Piazza Risorgimento, QuarrataPhoto by: Comune di Quarrata
Piazza Risorgimento, mostra LenziPhoto by: ripresa dal Web
Via Montalbano, glass palacePhoto by: NoidiQua
Lenzi car, QuarrataPhoto by: NoidiQua
Fire, LenziPhoto by: NoidiQua

When I was little I’d go to my grandfather’s workshop, filled with pieces of wood that he’d fill and then cover with leather and fabric, making beautiful moulded couches and armchairs.

Each piece would be completed with needle and threadwork, which my grandfather carried out skillfully: I’d watch him work, enchanted by the mastery with which he used the tools of his trade. My grandfather was very well known and liked by everyone. He worked for the Lenzi company, which was destroyed by a fire in 1968. Because of his craft, everyone called him Scorniciato (“Moulder”).  That nickname definitely made me laugh!

In the evenings, just before he’d close up the workshop, he’d bring me in and take me around all the wood that needed to be refined, saying: Look, little one—this is the gold of Quarrata.

Chapter #2

Villa La Magia and the magic pitcher

Esterno Villa, giardino a parterre, Limonaia di levantePhoto by: Comune di Quarrata
The living room on the piano nobile inside the villaPhoto by: City of Quarrata
Piano room inside the villaPhoto by: City of Quarrata
Antonio Arrighi. Staircase in the villaPhoto by: City of Quarrata
The piano nobile in the GalleryPhoto by: City of Quarrata

On Sunday, when my grandfather’s workshop was closed, he’d take me walking on the Barco Reale, the hunting estate that once belonged to the Medici family. There, standing tall and majestic, is the Villa La Magia, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.

The noble family Conti Amati Cellesi lived in the villa: from the gate, I’d admire the garden filled with lemon plants and roses, taking in the many varieties and colors. From there, I’d let my gaze wander up to the sweet hills of Montalbano.

My grandfather would tell me that inside the villa – a building filled with frescoes and works by famous artists – there was a copper pitcher, which the emperor Charles V had drunk from in 1536 after returning from a hunt. He never told me this, but I’m sure that it was a magic pitcher that could have made anyone who drank from it stronger and more courageous.

Chapter #3

Filet lace

Ricamatrice di filet al telaioPhoto by: Rosita Testai
Lace exhibition 2016 Villa La MagiaPhoto by: Comune di Quarrata
Students at the embroidery schoolPhoto by:
The exterior of the schoolPhoto by:
A view of the Spalletti farm, LuccianoPhoto by: City of Quarrata

My grandmother also worked; as a young girl, she’d attended the Countess Spalletti’s embroidery school in the Villa di Lucciano.

With the noblewoman wanting to increase the potentials of her female compatriots, she decided to teach them a trade. To do it, she opened up her home and hosted an embroidery school that launched a filet lace production process. I loved watching her while she would embroider on the frame, where she would have already carefully arranged a net with a cotton thread.  My grandmother’s embroidery work beautified the cupboards and dressers of her home and of many others in Lucciano and Quarrata.

Today, these beautiful works can be seen at the Museo del filet which is set up inside Villa La Magia.

Chapter #4

“Scorniciato, what are you inventing today?” and tomorrow…

particolare poltrone FuoriExpoPhoto by: Comune di Quarrata
particolare poltrona fuori salonePhoto by: Antonietta Catapano
Piazza RisorgimentoPhoto by: Comune di Quarrata

 “Enough daydreaming! It’s the evening and I need to close the furniture factory.”

Since the death of my grandfather, the workshop has become mine: besides the couches and the armchairs, I produce kitchens and bedrooms with help from architects and designers. I organized a furniture exhibition and studied various languages, since my products now go all over the world.

Many things have changed, but not the nostalgia that I hold for him: I miss his voice, his stories and the people that would come into his workshop and say: “Scorniciato, what are you inventing today?”

Maybe I’ll never reach his level, but I want to continue his tradition…both today and tomorrow!