If you wish to find out about us after nearly a hundred years in business, I look forward to welcoming you to my workshop in Venice. Yours sincerely
The professional restorer Vittorio Guarinoni opened up his workshop in Venice in 1920, just after the First World War, in Campo San Tomà near the Calegheri School.
The workshop opened up in an area where a variety of arts and crafts workshops offered services to Venetian nobles.
Vittorio was still considered a boy, but he already had business ideas and he succeeded by applying his vision and his gifts for transforming any object or article into a piece of furniture.
Vittorio was a gilder of frames and a lacquerer of Venetian furniture, who from a very early age worked with the Master Zennaro who taught him the art and tricks of the trade. Vittorio immediately put these into practice, exploiting his talent and his enthusiasm which generated a wellspring of ideas and possibilities. His creative furniture offerings were remarkable at the time, and became very sought after and well-known for consistently satisfying his customers and endearing himself to them as a result of his open and available approach.
Indeed, my own personal memory of my grandfather is that he was a decent and generous man.
- 1932My father Gian Carlo, was born in this year. My grandfather, happy with his achievements, envisioned a future where his own son would inherit what he had created. Gian Carlo did not disappoint him: indeed, he was a born decorator.For years my father was the pupil of the Master Fuga, and he learnt techniques which he applied not only at work: he also studied by night to develop his skills and mastery.Important encounters occurred during the breaks he allowed himself during the work day, and he often had lunch in the “Trattoria da Miro ai Padovani”, frequented by the most famous Venetian painters.Painters such as Cherubini, Novati, Mori, Parmigiani, Tancredi, Scarpa, Croce, Carena, who nurtured Gian Carlo’s love of painting to the extent that he started buying their works in order to sell them along with decorations in his furniture.Gian Carlo, like Vittorio, was able to make prestige pieces of furniture by imitating the 18th century style, with flowers on consoles, commodes and dressing tables. By now the Venetian had furnished his house in this style and his workshop was well-known throughout Venice.Time changes, and the workshop itself changed with the times. Today the young apprentices are pupils at Guarinoni and once they have learnt their trade they open their own workshops – with varying fortunes. Gian Carlo, however, succeeds in innovating and improving his art and the workshop is becoming more and more interesting over time.
- 1970The buying and selling of antiques – a new interest and passion – began at the beginning of the 1970s.It was a difficult profession given its sheer size and range: furniture, ceramics, silver, paintings and a variety of other accessories.Of course, there was specialisation in furniture, where repairs were carried out in collaboration with masters who helped to restore precious items such as the lacquered neoclassical maggiolini of 18th century noble Venetian families, which benefit from Gian Carlo’s expertise.An expertise which, years later, was to lead directly to the restoration of a number of rooms in the Doge’s Palace in Venice.
- 1974I set foot in the store under the watchful command of my father Gian Carlo, and was given the nickname Umbertino by the “bottegheri” or local craftsmen of the area. My beloved parents originally wanted me to follow a legal vocation and I industriously applied myself to this task, determined not to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather Vittorio, as consolidated by my own father. But I eventually rebelled, because their wishes did not sit with my conscience. In the end, my father taught me the techniques of restoration. Later I entered the field of selling and over time my activities focussed primarily on looking for and offering “original antiques“.
- 1974Only a very recent “history”. If you wish to find out about us after nearly a hundred years in business, I look forward to welcoming you to my workshop in Venice. Yours sincerely Umberto Guarinoni