In Emilia Romagna, woodworking takes place traditionally in some specific locations in the areas of Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Modena.
Grazzano Visconti is a small town that has been well known in the area of craftwork for ironworking since the second half of the nineteenth century. In parallel, however, the artisans of this village outside Piacenza also specialise in woodworking, giving life to a characteristic style in the production of wooden objects called the Grazzano style.
This art form took off at the beginning of the twentieth century thanks to the redevelopment of the village by Count Giuseppe Visconti of Modrone, and remains active today. Among its distinctive features are shapes inspired by fifteenth-century decoration and bas-relief with deep, densely packed carvings, applied to bookshelves, consoles, frames and much more.
In Rolo, in the province of Reggio Emilia, the craftsmen of wood are, by contrast, skilled masters in the production of inlaid furniture, called Rolini. Coffee tables, furniture, chairs and other objects are still made in the village workshops. These objects are the result of an art form that was born here in the eighteenth century, and which is also being kept alive thanks to the research carried out and the courses held by the Museum of Marquetry.
Finally, Modena, the city that owes much of its fame to the production of delicacies such as Balsamic Vinegar. For the purpose of maturing and ageing this world-famous nectar, wooden barrels are required, leading to an artisanal production industry that is particularly prominent in the village of San Prospero sulla Secchia.
Of decreasing size for each batch, the barrels are usually made of different woods from the Modena area, such as oak, mulberry, chestnut, juniper or cherry. Then, it is down to the cooper’s skill to produce a barrel with the right seasoning and the appropriate level of porosity: the quality of the result will depend on the taste and colour of the vinegar itself.