When I first moved abroad, people often asked me, "How is living in Italy different than in America?"
The first thing that came to mind was the culture around food. You order a coffee here and you are served with a porcelain cup, a metal spoon. They have weight in your hand. You take a moment of pause to savor the small experience. The longer I lived in Italy, the more I noticed that the Slow Food mentality extended far beyond coffee breaks: it was a respect for balance, for community, and above all, for tradition.
I came to Italy to study Renaissance and Baroque art for a summer in college that turned into the rest of my life. What captured my imagination and sense of wonder weren’t just the masterpieces, the frescos of Caravaggio that I could visit on a casual walk through the center of Rome, or the skeletons of grand architecture from the ancient Forum, it was the ubiquitous attention to artistic detail: flourishes in unexpected places, like doorknobs and water fountains, street lamps and window grates. These meticulous labors of passion, articulated with originality and skill by historic workshops still in operation, spoke to my heart.
It reminded me of something I'd read in the autobiography of Peggy Guggenheim—another American who fell in love with Italy and its art. I remember how she expressed her sense of duty to protect the artists of her own time, and this struck a chord with me.
Today, a plethora of institutional support is available to contemporary artists: museums, academies, galleries, fairs and auction houses all form a healthy ecosystem for fine artists to thrive. This system, however, has a gap.
None of that infrastructure extends to the present-day masters of the traditional arts: goldsmiths, silversmiths, ceramicists, wood carvers, luthiers... What’s worse, with the increasing competition from large-scale retail companies and the current economic climate, many prestigious family workshops that have survived for generations—some tracing back as far as the Renaissance—are dying out. Italy’s cultural patrimony, the essence of Made in Italy, is in jeopardy. I hope to give these prestigious artisans the spotlight they deserve, to introduce modern Stradivaris and Della Robbias to an international audience, and this is why I founded Manimenti.
Online, Manimenti is an ecommerce platform for the handcrafted creations and services of a select group of renowned master artisans, exhibiting exclusive selling exhibitions and arranging artisan services for collectors and enthusiasts alike. Interviews, art historical content, and biographies bring the stories of master artisans and their masterpieces to life.
Offline, Manimenti fosters a community among these artisans, building and managing teams with diverse skills that are capable of realizing extensive projects such as historic building restorations and implementing architectural accents for homes and contemporary architecture.
Monumental beauty can come in any scale when forged by the hands and mind of a master. This belief shaped our company's name Manimenti, a play on the Italian words for hands (mani), minds (menti), and monuments (monumenti).
I hope you enjoy meeting these awe-inspiring makers, discovering their stories and exploring their creations.