The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 13, Number 8
Dec 1989

Old Manuscripts "Transformed"

A company in Florence has put out a flyer in four languages, with a photograph showing some of the products it offers, all of then covered in old manuscripts: a paper weight, pencil box, pencil, diary with ribbon closure, box with ribbon closure, letter opener and so on. There is no indication whether the manuscript pages are of paper or parchment. The company is Giulio Giannini & Figlio, Piazza Pitti 36-37 r., 50125 Firenze, Italy. The flyer says:

In 1966 Florence was submerged by the raging floodwaters of the Arno River. Water, mud and debris covered the city resulting in tragedy for Florence and the entire world.

Along with the many artworks and historical relics that were irreparably damaged or lost, hundreds of handwritten records from farms, parishes, monasteries, etc. were reduced to illegible volumes with stained, sodden pages.

The Giannini family could not accept the fact that so much precious material could be thrown away. With the great love of books that distinguished them through the generations they began to salvage those pages which had not been too severely damaged.

Afterwards, fascinated by the splendid calligraphy on those sheets, they had the idea of using them to cover items of their own manufacture. It was thus that manuscripts became something more than archive material, and were transformed into artistic, decorative elements.

The Bottego d'Arte Giulio Giannini & Figlio guarantees that the items of its production are covered in authentic manuscripts dating from the XVII, XVIII and XIX centuries.

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