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Meet a Tuscan Coppersmith (1:18)

Montepulciano, Italy

In the hill town of Montepulciano, Cesare Mazzetti runs a mom-and-pop copper shop with his wife. Cesare uses his grandfather’s fiery forge to hand-make copper vessels using an anvil, a wooden mallet, and the skills he learned from his father. Cesare makes it look easy to coat a frying pan with tin.

Complete Video Script

The characteristic lanes of stony Montepulciano are lively with family-run artisan shops. The Mazzetti copper shop is full of both decorative and practical items. Signora Mazzetti, the coppersmith’s wife, shows off her husband's work. The production of hand-hammered copper vessels like these is a dying art. Around the corner, the coppersmith himself is hard at work at his grandfather's forge. Cesare Mazzetti is an institution in this town. He's carrying on his father's and his grandfather's trade by hammering into existence a variety of copper objects in his cavernous workshop.

Cesare's world is like a working museum. Classic anvil, wooden mallets, stencils dating from 1857 that have been passed down through the generations. Artfully finishing a copper pan with a coat of tin, Cesare's craftsmanship evokes the hard-working highly skilled craft guilds that once dominated small-town Italy's commercial and civic life.