Brescia, a lovely city in the North of Italy, is well known for its excellent pewter making craftsmanship. A handful of small, family run companies dot the area around the city, the best destination in Italy for hand crafted pewter tableware, flatware, home decoration pieces and art pieces.
A document, dated 1695, sets the rules that the members of the Brescian Guild of Pewter Makers are to follow. Among others the Guild established the quality and the quantities of the metals to be used in the alloy, tested the skills of new members and inspected regularly the production of its associates.
Today Guilds have disappeared, yet the global market is perhaps an even harder test for high craftsmanship and we are proud to say that Italian master pewters have passed it with honors.
By Tiziana Manzetti
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Founded over 3,200 years ago, Brescia boasts a precious collection of historic monuments, ranging from Roman public buildings, to a Medieval castle, to Renaissance churches and Art Deco architectural gems.
Such wealth of beautiful art must have been a powerful source of inspiration for the city craftsmen, among them the pewter-smiths, organized in a Guild so as to protect the quality of their work.
Tin has never been available for mining in Italy, at least not for millennia. It was sourced from Germany and from England and, later on, from Asia. That is the reason why the production was concentrated in the North of Italy and has always been very limited, with a strong vocation to quality rather than to quantity.
The most reputed master pewters worked in Venice. Their skills were so praised, that their workshops attracted craftsmen from the neighboring regions, especially from Bergamo and Brescia, the latter being the only place where the tradition has survived.