the 14th century, metalworking artisans in Firenze were grouped into
The Guild of Blacksmiths was the richest, and some of its members
were real artists in wrought iron work.
the Guild of Sword-makers and Armourers, which produced cutting
arms; the Guild of Key-smiths and Pot-makers, which made "keys,
keyholes, bolts, spikes, hinges, hooks, nails, chains, trivets, tongs,
shovels, lamps, ladles, iron rings, and any other old or new piece of
"; the Guild of Blacksmiths, which included
those who worked iron for various uses - "ploughshares, sledgehammers,
spades, hatchets, axes, saws, ironyards, gimlets, hammers, files, pintles,
shovels, chains, and similar tools
"; the Guild of Buckle-makers,
whose members produced buckles and clips.
In 15th century Firenze, but also in the Mugello and the Val di Sieve,
it was possible to find extremely high-quality wrought iron products, above
all in decorative work for churches and the houses of the rich: lamps, banner
holders, torch holders, rings for tying up horses, door knockers, etc.
This art was passed down over the generations in Firenze and the surrounding
area until the first half of the 20th century, and it left behind it many
real works of art: impressive gates, splendid lamps, very particular
Florentine-style bedheads. In the second half of the 20th century,
wrought iron was widely replaced by steel and other metals, that
are more resistant to the elements and therefore require less maintenance.
Translated by Jeremy Carden
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati