It so happens that the 2 oldest continuously family-owned firms in the world are Japanese – One constructing shrines and holy buildings since 578, and the other, inn-keeping since 718.

And the 3rd oldest continuously family-owned business in the world is in Molise, Italy – in the small town of Agnone where my grandfather’s cousins have been making bells since the year 1000.

liveandlearnitalian.com

liveandlearnitalian.com

La Fonderia Pontificia Marinelli is the oldest bell foundry in the world and continues today to use the original ‘lost wax’ technique of its founders. Artisans first imprint a wax form of the design onto a brick structure covered in clay, which is then overlaid with a second layer of clay to form a ‘false bell’.  When the wax inside is melted, it leaves the design imprint on the inside of the ‘false bell’. Still today, using an ancient wood-burning furnace, the molten bronze is heated to a temperature of 1200c (2200f) and poured into the space between to form the bell.

Study Italian in Italy:Agnone

liveandlearnitalian.com

liveandlearnitalian.com

Depending on the size of the bell, the process can take up to 10 months and is done entirely by hand. The work takes enormous strength, courage and concentration as any false move can ruin the process. As the pouring takes place, a local priest blesses the bronze and the workers pray. As the bell begins to cool, good wishes are exchanged.

1924     Pope Pius XI grants Papal status to the foundry – hence, its official name is       Pontificia Fonderia Marinelli

1954     Italian President honours Marinelli Family with gold medal for their prestigious     work and status as the oldest family business in Italy

Some of the famous bells created at the Marinelli Foundry:

1923     Pompeii –restoration of the Mariano Sanctuary

1950     Monte Cassino – reconstruction of the Church of San Benedetto, destroyed during the     battle of Monte Cassino in WWII

1961     Rome – commemoration of 100th anniversary of the founding of Italy

1992     Washington DC – to commemorate 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America

1995     NYC United Nations Building

2000     Rome – Jubilee Bell for St Peter’s Square, inaugurated by John Paul II

liveandlearnitalian.com

liveandlearnitalian.com

2004     Pisa – Leaning Tower, a 600k replica of the 17th century bell damaged in the bombing       of 1944

 

 

the Marinelli Bell in Pisa

 

Take a look at the foundry …

Agnone is a simple and modest place, its inhabitants are fiercely proud of their heritage and the traditions of their ancestors.

liveandlearnitalian.com

liveandlearnitalian.com

 

 

 

 

the Marinelli brothers today, Armando and Pasquale

LIVE AND LEARN ITALIAN invites you to combine study with exploring the traditions and everyday life of the region, mixing with the community and engaging in local activities. Of course, a visit to the Foundry is high on the list of special events.

Few places left for this summer! Book your Italian course in Agnone, Molise

Read more:

The last undiscovered region of Italy: Molise

Italian courses in Italy:few places left for  this summer, join Jenifer in June and July 2015, live and learn Italian,off the beaten track 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments Yet.

Add your comment