The many facets of artistic craftsmanship have always found fertile ground in Emilia Romagna. Skilfully controlling earth, water, air and fire is essential for processing precious metals, an activity in which Emilians have successfully stood out.


The Corporation of Modena Goldsmiths has been recognised since 1444 under the decree of Lionello d’Este, launching a business that has continued to thrive around the Ghirlandina up to the present day. Jewellery was mainly made from gold with additional small precious stones and, even though time is relentlessly chipping away at the number of small craftsmen and their production on the market, we still find small traditional workshops around Modena that have been handed down from father to son, continuing this ancient tradition without the use of machinery.

Even though Modena’s fame largely comes from the processing of precious metals, such as gold and silver, these small craftsmen have also worked with less precious metals, such as iron and copper. This can be seen with the well-known blacksmith families, who now work in Formigine: the Zanasi, Montagnani and Ferrari, or the Dini in San Felice sul Panaro. So by strolling around the city and visiting the small historic workshops, we can rediscover a centuries-old tradition.


We can also delve into the past with a visit to the Davia Bargellini Museum in Bologna, where numerous works of art prove the tradition in Bologna for processing copper, silver and gold.

The people of Reggio Emilia are also skilful craftsmen, especially in the Municipalities of Quattro Castella and Castelnovo né Monti. The first Municipality’s production dates back to the Ars Canusina, creating jewellery in the style of Matilda by using the embossed technique or engraving, while Castelnovo is famous for its decades of experience in casting bells.

Completing this Emilian picture, Ferrara and Piacenza also contribute to this sector which is pushed to the side all too often. Ferrara does this through its production of scratched ceramics and objects made with fire clay, while Piacenza does so through its artistic iron hammering and inlaid wood.