The art of antiques restoration consists in restoring an antique or work of art to a like-new condition. There is a lot of difference between restoring and repairing. Functionality may be achieved by a repair, but restoring an item is a proper form of art.
Restorers have to be trained craftspeople. Why? Because a single piece of furniture may include wood, glass, inlay, leather and fabric. This means that antique restoration requires knowing different types of materials. Also, a restorer who is working for a collector who values patina, must make sure that the item reflects an aesthetic that shows its age. In other words, an “over restored” item can actually lose its value.
In the historic center of Florence, Tuscany, there are many botteghe – or artisan workshops – that are specialized in antiques restoration. They are often family owned, with traditions passed down from generation to generation. Some also share their knowledge and secrets with students, offering authentic restoration courses to people from all around the world.
Studiainitalia, an agency specialized in language courses and art & handcraft workshops across Italy, offers a number of restoration courses, including period furniture, ancient books, paper and paintings.
Enjoy the videos below presenting some of the master artisans who teach the courses, and students offering testimonials about their Florentine experience.