An extremely solid golden line illustrates the Manetti family tree, connecting all the historic milestones of a family-run business which for over 400 years has excelled as the maximum expression of gold beating.
Over the centuries, this family has accompanied and sometimes even anticipated the evolution of production processes for the transformation of ingot into leaf, emerging as an ambassador throughout the world of a remarkable tradition and the finest Florentine craftsmanship's sheer capacity for innovation.
1500: THE ORIGINS OF THE FAMILY
The story of the company that has gone on to become the world’s leading producers of gold and silver leaf coincides with that of a large Florentine family who, as far back as the Renaissance, practised the ancient and noble art of gold beating, the allure of which had even won over Leonardo da Vinci.
In the early 1600s, the Manetti family owned a small family workshop of gilders, engravers, decorators and gold beaters, who were entrusted with prestigious projects from the very beginning: in 1602, Matteo Manetti was hired by Grand Duke Ferdinando II de’ Medici to restore the golden ball atop the dome of the Florence Cathedral. It was the beginning of a story that would endure for generations.
In constant pursuit of excellence, several members of the Manetti family employed at the workshop attended the famous Accademia del Disegno in Florence. One of them, Niccolò, became its consul, inheriting a role which had once belonged to none other than Michelangelo Buonarotti.
In 1820, having been infected with the enthusiasm of the Industrial Revolution, Luigi Manetti began the process of transforming the family’s artisan workshop into a true mechanised factory. Along with the profits, the quality of the product also increased, and this led the workshop to receive three medals of merit at the National Expositions of 1861, 1881 and 1884.
Despite two wars and a bombing, the company grew and gained worldwide notoriety during the first half of the twentieth century. As of the 1920s, the Manetti family’s gold leaf adorned many of the most prestigious monuments of Paris, New York, London and Moscow.
In the 1950s, Giusto began offering international consultancy for the British Museum and NASA. Then came another stoppage with the devastating flood of Florence, followed by another recovery. Led by Fabrizio, Lapo and Francesca, the company grew even further, with the turnover reaching € 9 million.
With the arrival of the next generation of the Manetti family, the company continued to grow and innovate, remaining true to its long tradition of success. In 2002, four hundred years after the work carried out by Maestro Matteo, the ball on the dome of the Florence Cathedral was restored once again. And in 2013, the inauguration of the new production plant on the outskirts of Florence bore witness to the company’s desire and capacity to invest in the future.