Agnone – Coppersmiths

Franco Gerbasi demonstrating traditional methods to make copper water vessels

The town of Agnone in Molise Province was considered the most important city in Italy for copper production in the Middle Ages. It is also famous for its bell foundry, located in the center of town. Local people told me one out of ten people in this community of five thousand inhabitants used to be coppersmiths. Only three are left who still know the ancient methods of copper work.

I visited Franco Gerbasi and Filipino D’Aloise, who told me vivid stories about the history of copper in Agnone. Franco runs a copper museum in Agnone while working on expanding the industrial production of copper wares. Filipino cooperates with people in different creative fields like fashion and architecture. They showed me the traditional methods of making copper reliefs and water vessels. The latter were essential before the invention of household water pipes. Women would carry fresh water with these vessels on their head. Copper was a crucial everyday material, but also revered for its anti-bacterial properties.

Franco Gerbasi shares the history of cooper and demonstrates how to make a copper relief in his workshop and museum