The Enduring Legacy of Alberto Cozzi

Founded in 1908, the Cozzi family has maintained traditional craftsmanship for five generations, now they to look to the future.

Kris Garland
December 10, 2021 - 15:39
The Descendants: Marco, Francesca, Massimo and Graziella

 

In Florence, the Cozzi name has long been synonymous with bookbinding, paper marbling and faithful restoration of centuries-old volumes. Alberto Cozzi, together with his wife Nella, opened their bottega on Via del Parioncino in 1908, specializing in book binding and restoration. Since then, the family has maintained the business for well over 100 years. Today, they operate out of two locations – on Via del Parione and Via S’Agostino – both specializing in their complementary arts.

 

In a city where traditions run deep, Alberto and Nella’s great-grandchildren; Francesca, Massimo and Litizia; alongside their parents Paolo and Nelly, maintain traditional methods handed down for five generations. Marco, the great-great grandson is looking to the future and what that will look like. “Ours are traditional art forms and we are surrounded by antiquities in doing restorations. Sometimes it’s easy to forget we are living in a world driven by modern technology,” said Marco. He continued, “but rapidly developing technology is here to stay and that is a common challenge for many artisans. The necessary tech components, social media, websites, digital marketing, these are not our areas of expertise.”

 

 

I have personally seen this pattern emerge in my ongoing work with artisans of the Oltrarno. Many tell a similar story: being an artisan is often in direct conflict with living in the digital age. Having an online presence, and exposure via social media have become a necessary part of doing business, but this is simply not feasible for most. Many of my colleagues are individuals operating their bottegas single-handedly. Others are small family-run operations.

 

This was the impetus for IN BOTTEGA which I co-founded with my colleague Giovanna Bruno of Monnaluna. We recognized the need for an organization that could fill the gaps for artisans and agreed it was critical to preserving art and culture in Florence, so artisans can focus on their passion and what they do best – their work.

 

The Cozzi business is a perfect fit for what we are building at IN BOTTEGA. Designed to connect artisans with their audience, our goal is to provide support with a dynamic website, social media channels, and a variety of tours both virtual and in-person. The site will also be a resource for classes, in bottega demonstrations and private commissions. Future plans include B-B resources for architects and designers, and a section featuring similar organizations that are helping artisans in Florence and beyond. Sourcing quality, authentic materials is in itself time-consuming. Specialty papers from Umbria, Pescia and Amalfi, leathers from tanneries in Santa Croce near Pisa, and 23-karat gold leaf are among the many supplies needed for authentic restorations and the making of stationery products.

 

 

The work itself is time-consuming and meticulous. Francesca, the restoration maestra, studied under her mentor at the Biblioteca Laurenziana. Repairing and restoring a centuries-old volume often takes days. But the results are truly satisfying, “We have many loyal clients because they see we are passionate about our work, and that is reflected in the finished product. Our commission work comes from all over the world, so we are encouraged by what the future holds, especially if we have a way of reaching a broader audience through technology.”

 

Hand-sewn bookbinding, doratura (the art of gilding), leatherworking and paper marbling are all traditional techniques that are also labor-intensive. And for the Cozzi family it is a labor of love. Letizia, the family’s paper marbling expert explains her inspiration comes from nature and the passion her family has for their work. “We’re proud to carryon the traditions of the Alberto Cozzi brand, and with our IN BOTTEGA partnership, the future looks brighter than ever!”

 

 

 

Doratura – the art of gilding brought to life

 

For sales inquiries and information on private commissions please call (+39) 347 495 2937 or write an email [email protected]

Thank you for supporting art and culture in Florence!

 

 

Alberto Cozzi

Via del Parione 35/R

(+39) 055 294968

 

Legatoria S’Agostino

Via S’Agostino 21/R

(+39) 055 219627

 

 

 

 

Plan Your Shopping Excursion with IN BOTTEGA

Make the most of your trip to Florence with a visit to the workshops and bottegas of the Oltrarno.

Just across the Ponte Vecchio from the bustling city center, this quiet neighborhood adjacent to the Pitti Palace has been home to artisans for centuries. We invite you to come and experience art, culture and creativity at its finest!

Contact us at [email protected] or visit inbottega.org to learn more.

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