By David Orr – Writer

Artisans have always anchored Florence to its ancient past, and nowhere is this more evident than in the 21st edition of the Artigianato e Palazzo, held from May 14-17 in the resplendent Corsini Gardens, in Via della Scala 115, in Florence. A Woodstock-like gathering of over 90 craftsmen from all over Italy and Europe, artists and observers alike come together to mingle in one of the most beautiful corners of Florence. The Gardens, normally closed to the public, opens up every year for the festival at the height of spring-time. Inside, a column of statues stand on permanent watch sheltering those who enter, while manicured hedges and trees in full bloom make the outside world disappear. The festival is fantastic for kids and adults alike, every day features workshops showcasing the artists’ exceptional techniques, including silver engraving, gold leafing, iron forging, glass processing and of course jewelry. The festival arose from the desire to showcase traditional fundamentals in the modern artisan, highlighting those who work to keep ancient techniques alive, while bringing the public closer to an important part of Italy’s heritage. The artisans all have a kindred relationship with the past. This year’s edition also focuses on the canon of Applied Art, showcasing the artists’ ideas in everyday life. Amongst the complexities of today’s technology, these are the true magicians of raw materials, taking gold, straw, wood, silver and fashioning unique wares.