Make room for SAM!

3,500 mq for artisans

Editorial Staff
March 26, 2009

A vast multifunctional center dedicated to Florence's high-quality artisan crafts will soon open. Located in the neighborhood where for centuries the city's artisan trades have been practiced, the Oltrarno, the new Spazio Arte e Mestieri (SAM) will boast 3,500 square meters to hold a vast array of artisan workshops.


From sculpture, painting and restoration to blacksmithing, woodworking and engraving, SAM will also feature six apartments to house foreign artisans who are here to learn. The facility will include an informational center that will promote Florence's most important artisan trades.


SAM is scheduled to open in the nineteenth-century Conventino, formerly the home of the Monastero di Santa Teresa delle Carmelitane Scalze, located near Piazza Tasso in the Oltrarno. To be inaugurated on April 21, SAM will feature public gardens and space for temporary exhibitions and conferences on the artisan trades.


Meanwhile, leather craftsmen in the province have set up a watchdog group to monitor the practice and business, which has been hard hit by the economic downturn. According to industry data, the national demand for leather products dropped by some 18 percent in the last trimester of 2008, while the international demand dropped by about 11 percent in the same period. The group will monitor the economic sustainability of the sector and encourage local leather production.

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