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Artistic craftsmanship in Livorno: from coral to iron working

Livorno has always been linked to the sea and the tradition of artistic craftsmanship in the area is no different.

Thanks also to the knowledge acquired by foreign craftsmen, Livorno is particularly renowned for its coral, wood and metal craftsmanship.

Coral processing in Livorno

Among the best-known artisan traditions in Livorno is the processing of coral, fished in the Tyrrhenian Sea since the Renaissance, when Livorno was at the beginning of its history. It was during the seventeenth century, when Livorno assumed the rank of city, that coral processing had a great boost, thanks above all to the arrival of Jewish workers. The workshops received the raw coral and transformed it into jewels such as glue, and brooches, or bracelets, also used for superstitious properties. The tradition of coral processing in Livorno continued at least until beyond the mid-1900s. It is no coincidence that the Livorno painter Amedeo Modigliani often painted coral jewels in his paintings.

From ships to wooden furniture construction

As a seaside city, Livorno has always been inhabited by carpenters, carvers and shipwrights who worked on the construction of boats in the port. It is probably because of this skill that, during the 19th century, Livorno also became renowned for the processing of wood for the creation of furniture, an activity still very present in the city today.

Iron and metal working

During the nineteenth century, the working of molten iron was also established in Livorno. The metals forged by Leghorn foundrymen were in fact used to embellish furniture, fixtures, lamps and even clocks. A tradition still handed down today in the shops of the city.