Pitti Mosaici: the De Filippis family and the almost-forgotten art of pietra dura

Pitti Mosaici: the De Filippis family and the almost-forgotten art of pietra dura

At the Pitti Mosaici laboratory, in piazza Pitti, master craftsmen use a centuries-old process to create museum-quality artwork.

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Thu 24 Feb 2022 11:21 AM

There are only a handful of people who can execute a mosaic using the centuries-old method of pietra dura and the De Filippis family has pride of place in this illustrious group. The art of using semi-precious and hard stones to comprise intricate and lifelike pictures in mosaic form is a treasure of Florence.

Third and fourth generation: Iory, Ilio and Isse De Filippis in their bottega on Piazza de’ Pitti.
Third and fourth generation: Iory, Ilio and Isse De Filippis in their bottega on piazza de’ Pitti.

Heritage and artistry runs deep in the De Filippis family. In 1890, grandfather Emilio left his hometown of Venafro, in southern Italy, to study marble sculpture at L’Academie des Beaux Arts in Paris; one of his brothers notably worked as a master timber craftsman for the Vatican Sacristy and another as a painter whose work can still be viewed today in the Secret Room of the Vatican Museum.

“When you buy a Pietra Dura mosaic,
you buy a piece of history.”
 – Ilio De Filippis  

Emilio returned to Italy in 1945 and later worked with his son, Ernesto, honing his craft and handing down his knowledge. Ernesto carried on the traditions with his own son, Emilio (Ilio), who set out for Florence and soon discovered his passion for pietra dura and opened his first workshop in 1982 in piazza de’ Pitti. The family tradition has continued with his sons Isse and Iory, all three are as charming and charismatic as they appear in photos.

In their laboratory and architectural design studio, located in the former residence of the Pitti Family, master craftsmen use a centuries-old process to create museum-quality artwork. Malachite, lapis lazuli, agate, onyx, chaldedony and countless other colorful natural stones create stunning reproductions of any conceivable image. A pattern is made for each individual piece, and the appropriately shaded and colored stones are carefully selected, cut, honed and precisely inlaid. The “zero gap” result is truly captivating in its intricacy and precision.

Precision: each piece of stone is cut, honed and fitted by hand.
Precision: each piece of stone is cut, honed and fitted by hand.

Clients of Pitti Mosaici range from private individuals to international architects, engineers and designers. Given the many styles achievable with pietre dure, it is suitable for myriad applications. IN BOTTEGA is proud to partner with Pitti Mosaici and to highlight their heritage and dedication to excellence.

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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 connect@inbottega.org or visit inbottega.org to learn more.

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