Arte Barsanti

The ancient art of manufacturing plaster figures

Arte Barsanti is the ancient and prize-winning firm established in 1900 by Carmelo Barsanti, who first started the production of alabastrine plaster figures in Bagni di Lucca. Carmelo, who was born in Italy in 1879, emigrated to Rhone, France, where he developed a deep interest for Provençal Nativity scenes.

Around 1900, after he was back to Italy with this new passion and having entered the tradition of Lucca and Garfagnana stucchini (“stucco-workers”), he created a union that would later represent the basis of the huge spread of Italian Nativity scenes: he opened an atelier of plaster figures specialized in religious art in Bagni di Lucca.

That atelier is still there. Handed down from generation to generation, it was passed from Carmelo to his son Fedele, from Fedele to his daughter Maria and her husband Pierangelo Fiori, from them to their son Simone, who’s the present owner. An extraordinary business, which has received the recognition of the European Union.  Today its production is mainly specialised in religious figures, with a wide selection of Nativity characters, made with the old casts unique in their kind. The figures are made manually, from plaster casting, to decorations, following the methods passed down for three generations. 

The sale of the figures has expanded during the years around the whole peninsula, in Europe and even in other continents. Models made by Arte Barsanti have been bought by Pope John Paul II and by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. From December 2009, a Nativity scene by Arte Barsanti has been displayed in the The International Nativity Museum in Bethlehem, while in 2016 another one was given to the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella.

Manufacturing the figures

Arte Barsanti has been manufacturing plaster figures since 1900, always following the methods handed down from generation to generation. We invite you to discover how our plaster figures are born.

Visit our workshop

It is possible to visit the “garret Nativity”, the casts store, the workshop. Also, you can attend the making of a figure on the spot, all for a unique price. Discover the secrets of a totally handcrafted manufacturing.

Why the plaster

Alabastrine plaster is the material that represents the historical Tuscan tradition of Nativity scenes. Plaster is a natural material, 100% ecologic. Arte Barsanti is nowadays the only workshop in Italy that produces handcrafted plaster figures.

It is possible to visit the “garret Nativity”, the casts store, the workshop. Also, you can attend the making of a figure on the spot, all for a unique price. Discover the secrets of a totally handcrafted manufacturing.

Alabastrine plaster is the material that represents the historical Tuscan tradition of Nativity scenes. Plaster is a natural material, 100% ecologic. Arte Barsanti is nowadays the only workshop in Italy that produces handcrafted plaster figures.

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