Having taken a gilding class in Florence I also heard about Marino's Gold beating workshop! Wow it sounded so amazing and I just felt it the perfect compliment to learn how gold leaf is made. This family run business is a must see, all the family are involved in different ways, Marino starts the class with pouring molten gold into a metal mould, he then takes you through the process that gives him his name and watching him beating the gold with heavy hammers and without looking is both exciting and nail biting as he is so confident he will not hit his fingers. The gold goes through many stages to be made thinner and thinner and then cut into perfect sheets. The whole process is very professional and heartwarming. So nice to see such a traditional practice being kept alive! It is such an exciting place to experience. Just a little advice though, because I was staying in Florence, I took the first train to Venice, but what I didn't know is that the trains are unpredictable so if you can get there as early as possible it would be best. Also be prepared for the very 'unique' street system. What I thought was a road name is actually a whole area of venice and the number 5186 was not an area code, it was a door number and I found myself wandering round winding streets for about an hour from the station. It is confusing even to the locals which is why I just advise you you to give yourself more than enough time to find it. That said you must visit this little hidden gem of a workshop, I promise you will find gold at the end of the journey!


I visited quite a few workshops while I was in Florence and I visited Daniela's workshop on my last day, but I have to say it was my most favourite! Maybe that is because I am a jeweller and have an invested interest in jewellery, but I think it is also because I love the romantic charm a workshop can have! A Florentine family business, based on handmade quality jewellery and with lovely people I felt a connection with this place. I met Silvia, Daniela's sister who welcomed me and made me feel at home and told me all about the history of their shop. Luca a family friend who has worked there for over twenty years showed me the processes of making their signiture jewellery range, a very modern and traditional design of Florence and we talked about the history of Florence's jewellery heritage. I remember when I was a young girl I visited Florence with my parents and my mother couldn't keep me away from all the jewellery shops and I remember then they were like artisan workshops where you could see the jewellers making in the shop. That is how I would describe this workshop! The famous Ponte Vecchio which is just around the corner may be eye catching with all its glittery shop displays, but here in Daniela's workshop you will see the true history of Florence's jewellery treasures.


This is the reason I came to Florence. I had for some time been thinking about using Gold leaf in my jewellery work and when I saw this class come up on instagram I could't think of a better way to learn. The class obviously focuses on the process of applying gold leaf to wood, but Stefania was very happy to let me do a little test on a piece of jewellery I bought with me. The class was great, its a very complex process and I would recommend do a few days classes to really get a grasp of the whole art of gilding! Their workshop is also beautiful with examples of the kinds of things they work on to restore. I only did a few hour class which they kindly arrange for me, but I suggest you do a class as you will also have the advantage of meeting some people who are doing the course as well. Also make sure if you are a none italian speaker that you check that the classes are in the language you understand. I fully recommend this class for anyone! It teaches you so much about the technique, history and processes that it would suit someone who is a beginner and someone who has some experience already but wants to learn more! Also Florence has got to be the most beautiful city I have ever visited, I will definitely be visiting again soon!


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