From the late 19ᵗʰ century onwards, thanks to the skill of the great restoration master Mario Ponziani, this restoration workshop became the most prestigious of its time. Here masterpieces from across Italy were restored everyday, studying and understanding the techniques used by the old masters. A long history, filled with charm and significant events: even back in the 1800s the Ponziani craftsmen were renowned specialists in the gilding art, working in their workshop near Piazza Santa Croce in Florence.
Giovanni Ponziani was apparently the first in his family to work in this artistic craft trade, handing down his values and passions to his three children, Rodolfo, Mario and Danilo, who continued to work in the same laboratory until 1940, when Mario Ponziani decided to transfer the activity to the heart of the artists’ district of San Frediano, setting up his own restoration laboratory.
And so the company Ponziani was born, on the ground floor of an ancient 16ᵗʰ century building, Palazzo Graziosi, adjacent to the properties of the Marquis Frescobaldi and Francesco Ferrucci. Over the years, Mario Ponziani stood out from the many other workshops in Florence, thanks to the skilled use of ancient restoration techniques for gilded and varnished furniture, from different periods and origins, with particular attention to European and Italian varnishes like those from Venice, Genoa and Sicily.
THE PONZIANI FORERUNNERS
Immediately after the war, exploiting the knowledge of age-old techniques that many considered obsolete, Mario Ponziani had a winning insight that led him to set up what was to become the laboratory’s main activity: the production of craft furniture that faithfully reproduced antique furnishings and precious objects. Thus the Ponziani production became popular among architects and interior designers around the world, particularly in the USA, and the company continued to produce complete furnishings made to order.
Lo Studiolo Ponziani reproductions, particularly our Venetian-style chests of drawers and secretaires, have been prized and demanded by international personalities and shipped across the globe.
Among these, International celebrities as well as prestigious boutiques including Bergdorf Goodman on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Significant works have been performed in luxury apartments in London, Venice, Monte Carlo and many other cities. Antique dealers and collectors are habitual customers at our studio, including the famous Galleria Bellini in Florence. Our clients also include the Monuments Department of Florence, which commissioned the restoration works carried out in the royal apartments at Palazzo Pitti and the Medici villas of Poggio a Caiano and Castello.
The reproduction of an apothecary cabinet was displayed at Liberty in London.
Over the years, Lo Studiolo has taken part in international events including the ‘Salone del Mobile’ in Milan and ‘Abitare il Tempo in Verona’, here receiving an award for its long-standing participation.
In the late 1960s RAI television filmed a 4-part documentary on Antiques and Restoration, directed by Ugo Gregoretti; many parts were filmed on the Lo Studiolo premises.
In 1964 the publishers Fabbri began to publish a weekly magazine ‘CASA e CUCINA’, offering its readers the possibility to purchase period furniture, and one of its suppliers was the Ponziani workshop.
In 1961 the management of the new Biennale dell’Antiquariato in Florence commissioned an artistic sketch from Mario Ponziani to promote the exhibition. Maurizio Ponziani produced a drawing of Palazzo Strozzi, which became the Biennale logo for 10 editions (20 years).
In 1996, Lo Studiolo was mentioned in the guide book ‘Italy’s Finest’ written by Florentine Marquise Bona Frescobaldi as one of the places to visit in Florence.
In 2019 RAI television will be broadcasting a TV drama ‘Pezzi Unici’ starring Sergio Castellitto, in which some pieces by the Lo Studiolo appear.