A treasure trove of artisan expertise and inspired marketing is concealed on an industrial estate in the outskirts of Campi Bisenzio, northeast of Florence. Giusto Manetti Battiloro has been beating gold into leaf for decorative purposes worldwide since 1820.
It all began when Luigi Manetti bought a Florentine goldbeater’s workshop in via de’ Pescioni, near piazza della Repubblica. When the founder passed away, his son helmed the family business, successfully circumventing the World War I period and moving manufacturing to modern premises in via Ponte alle Mosse in the 1920s. In July 1944, the buildings were mistakenly bombed by American aircraft, but once the war was over, gold leaf production resumed upon the partial reconstruction of the Florence plant. 1966 brought renewed hardship with the Florence flood, which inundated the ground floor of the factory.