Grazie mille to all of you for reading and keeping up with my Countdown so far. Please leave comments here, I would love to know what your feedback is.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the calendar I selected for today. I'd be very tempted to construct one of those for myself. Might have to tuck that idea into a folder for next year. Just maybe. I love the vintage look of it, love the gold here and there. Gives it a little bit of glitz.
And speaking of glitz, that's exactly what's behind door #4 today. Come along with me, I'm going to take you on a little field trip, so I can show you what's behind the door at Cannaregio, #5182.
We're visiting at the workshop of Mario Berta Battiloro, the last real producer of gold leaf left in Italy, and all of Europe for that matter. The Battiloro (literally gold beater) here is keeping the over 1,000 year old tradition of making gold leaf (and also silver and other minerals). The family craft began here in Venice in 1926, with this location opening in 1969. Today the whole operation is run by Marino Menegazzo, his wife (Mario Berta's daughter), their two daughters and 4 other staff.
There is no machinery here. Every step is done exactly as it has for hundreds of years. Every bit of pounding of the gold until it is feather light and only microns thin is done completely by hand.
A series of heavy mallets are used to beat the gold, over and over and over again, until finally, Marino deems it perfect.
It is a fascinating process to watch, especially because nothing is automated. The gold, silver and other types of leaf produced here have been used all over Venice, and around the world on building projects, works of art, and even edible gold and now cosmetic products.
For me, being able to watch the work here at Mario Berta Battiloro was indeed like taking a step back in time. It's not often you meet an entire family so dedicated to preserving their craft. There's a bit of icing on the cake as well if you visit the Battiloro, because #5182 Cannaregio is also the home of another famous Venetian, Tiziano Vecellio, also known as Titian, one of Italy's most famous painters of the 1400's. Walking in Titian's house gave me goosebumps. Seriously.
For more information see the website www.berta-battiloro.com.
Visits to the workshop are by appointment, for a small admission fee.
As Venice's population dwindles, artisans are forced to close their shops. Those that are left are a dying breed, unfortunately for all of us. I hope you will seek out these special doors next time you are in Venice, and treat yourself to a bit of the "other" Venice, the real Venice.
I haven't forgotten the bonus -Link to Day 4 -Countdown to Christmas 2014. It's Babbo Natale !!
Today's advent calendar is from 2gypsygirls.com