Made In Italy...For Now

Series produced by Nancy Greenleese

Caption: Tailor Paola Gueli<br/> has helped make Italy famous for<br/> its quality, handmade products<br/> but she is part of a disappearing breed., Credit: Luigi Fraboni
Image by: Luigi Fraboni 
Tailor Paola Gueli
has helped make Italy famous for
its quality, handmade products
but she is part of a disappearing breed. 

Italy is renowned for its artisans -- from bakers to tailors, jewelry makers to marble workers. They create unique masterpieces by hand, even in a mass-produced age. But these artisans and their work is at risk of disappearing, leaving the wider world without skilled craftsmen trained in the Italian tradition.

Artisans have crafted Italy. They sew wedding dresses, knead homemade breads, paint ceramics and much more. But these Michelangelos of the manual arts are dying and their mastery with them. Italians, despite high unemployment rates, aren’t learning these crafts. Apprenticeships no longer exist and the artisans’ work is already limited in a global marketplace favoring low prices over quality. If that weren’t enough, the Mafia often extorts from these small, vulnerable businesses. The Made in Italy tradition is at risk.

These pieces delve into this complex problem that's much more serious than ensuring hand-stitched handbags are still available for trophy wives. A country's culture and economy hangs in the balance as well as age-old traditions respected worldwide. Each piece examines a craft -- tailoring, metal working, and baking. The men and women take us into their workshops and kitchens. They reveal their artistry, their worries and what they're doing or unable to do to keep their arts alive.

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Artisans have crafted Italy. They sew wedding dresses, knead homemade breads, paint ceramics and much more. But these Michelangelos of the manual arts are dying and their mastery with them. Italians, despite high unemployment rates, aren’t learning these crafts. Apprenticeships no longer exist and the artisans’ work is already limited in a global marketplace favoring low prices over quality. If that weren’t enough, the Mafia often extorts from these small, vulnerable businesses. The Made in Italy tradition is at risk.These pieces delve into this complex problem that's much more serious than ensuring hand-stitched handbags are still available for trophy wives. A country's culture and economy hangs in the balance as well as age-old traditions respected worldwide. Each piece... Show full description


3 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Baker Salvatore Raccuglia rolls the bread as bakers have done for centuries in Sicily.   , Credit: Luigi Fraboni
Italian breads and pastries are favorites among foodies. But Italian artisan bakeries are shutting down. Changing eating habits, the crisis and t...

Bought by KUOW, KLCC, and New Hampshire Public Radio


  • Added: Feb 25, 2013
  • Length: 06:09
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Paola Gueli is one of a dwindling number of tailors in Italy, a country renowned for its tailoring tradition. , Credit: Luigi Fraboni
Skilled tailoring is a dying art. Many of the best tailors hail from Italy where the tradition is unraveling due to a lack of training opportuniti...

Bought by New Hampshire Public Radio and WAMC


  • Added: Feb 25, 2013
  • Length: 08:20
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Italian Negar Azhar Azari makes a ring by hand in the centuries-old Florentine tradition.  , Credit: Maurizio Rufino
Italian artisans craft exquisite objects with their hands, particularly in Florence. Yet aging artisans crippled by Italy’s bureaucracy aren’t abl...

Bought by New Hampshire Public Radio


  • Added: Feb 25, 2013
  • Length: 07:37
  • Purchases: 1