Skills and expertise

The Marche are a region with an old cultural tradition  and ancient crafts that have been handed down for centuries in workshops. Local cultural traditions remain evident in present-day products.

These skills and expertise  are at the basis of typical regional products and despite modern bias toward industrial manufacturing  they are still influencing the choices of men and women who decide to carry out an artisanal activity relying on their creativity and  competence, mixing ancient knowledge and modern taste.

 

In the Marche you can follow many itineraries that take you to the places where these artisans and workshops are. Artistic craftsmanship is so widespread that it is hard to list the most  remarkable places and the most typical products.

Leatherworking is one of the oldest traditions as it dates back to the Middle Ages. In modern times  in the area of Macerata and Fermo  there’s  a good number of factories producing shoes, bags  and leather goods. Tens of workshops  for shoe manufacturing already existed here at the end of the 19th century and this activity was for Montegranaro the main source of income.

Paper making is identified with the town of Fabriano, where a particular technique of watermark was introduced that became a distinctive feature of print currency and banknotes.This paper making tradition has played such an important role that in modern times the former convent of St. Domenico has been turned into the Paper and Watermark Museum, where you can see ancient working techniques and  look at the instruments that were used in Medieval times.

Travertineis an ivory -coloured marble and it’s been particularly used in various stoneworking techniques in the area of Ascoli Piceno and Acquasanta Terme, where sculptors and stonecutters  are still passing on this ancient craft . Majolica and terracotta working began in Medieval times and it was at its best in the Renaissance when, due to the patronage of the Della Rovere family , one of the most flourishing Italian industries was set up. The working of wrought iron is alsowidespread, especially in the area of Ascoli Piceno, in the municipalities of Force and Comunanza, where coppersmiths are still handing down this centuries' old tradition. In Jesi, Fossombrone and Fano you can find goldsmiths’workshops , due to the presence of internationally known artisans who have stood out for their original creations.

Furniture manufacturing is also known to the world. In the area of Pesaro in particular a large network of woodworkers ’ workshops has developed and has become, over the years , an avant-garde industrial sector which involves also other towns. In fact, Ostra is considered an important centre for antiques and furniture restoration whereas Pollenza stands out for the reproduction of antique furniture.

In Acquaviva Picena an interesting artistic tradition is carried out: the manufacture of “paiarole”, i.e. baskets made with wheat straw,  shoots from willow trees and various types of marshy reeds. They’re totally hand-made and only women look after  their  materials and production. In the old centre of Montappone you can pay a visit to the Hat Museum, where all the phases of straw working and hat making are illustrated. The importance of this ancient craft is recalled in the event called “ Il cappello di paglia” (The straw hat). On this occasion in the historic centre more than 200 artisans show the art of making straw hats. 

Le Marche are also the region where sophisticated music instruments are produced. Castelfidardo is the biggest supplier of accordions in the world, Recanati is famous for the production of guitars  while Ascoli Piceno is a thriving center for luthiers. Last but not least, Offida is famous for the laborious and patient art of bobbin lace-making. This art was imported from the East in the 15h century and it’s skilfully practiced by local women who often sit in small groups before their doorsteps.

 

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