Le Pietre nell’Arte workshop continues the ancient craft of ‘Florentine semi-precious stone mosaics’ using the techniques handed down from the 16th century. The experience acquired and love for the art has led the Scarpelli family of master craftsmen to open the workshop in the centre of Florence to the public. The craft of making semi-precious stone mosaics began in the Florentine Renaissance with the Medici family and still continues today in a handful of craft workshops where the craftsmen’s expert hands create works of great artistic worth. The first fundamental stage is to look out the raw materials which are then cut into 2/3 mm thick slices often. The artist’s skill lies in their managing to create a ‘stone painting’ while trying to reproduce all the colour shades that the materials offer in nature. The design to put together is split up into lots of small models that will be glued onto the stone in the selected colour spot. Each single piece of stone is cut by hand using a centuries-old technique involving a chestnut or cherry wood branch bent into an arch and a wire which slides over the stone with an abrasive powder and water to make a precise cut. The artist uses a file to perfect the shape of each piece of stone that will be placed alongside the others by means of a beeswax glue, colophony, with invisible joints. The background of the composition is provided by a slab of slate which is polished by hand to uncover the colours of nature in all their splendour. Maestro Renzo Scarpelli has been making hundreds of extraordinary, top quality works of art for over 40 years; as a result, his creations can be admired all over the world. Renzo is a leading exponent of the ‘Florentine mosaic’ technique thanks to his ability to give shape to the cold and rigid stone and make it into a game of light and shade. Thanks to his experience in using the technique, his skill and sensitivity, and his passion for the art, he is an artist in every sense. Leonardo, Renzo’s son, was born into the profession, and with his extraordinary ability of expression he helps preserve the high quality of this age-old technique. His ‘stone paintings’ are the expression of an extraordinary combination of art and craft, tradition and innovation. Renzo’s wife, Gabriella, is highly skilled and has years of experience in the creation of unique pieces of jewellery. Catia, the eldest daughter, has decided to follow in the family tradition and is the company’s sales manager. Her role is to maintain customer relations and boost appreciation of the art of ‘Florentine semi-precious stone mosaics’ as a common heritage that should be treasured around the world and preserved for centuries to come.