The “Ori Antichi” collection G.B. Spadafora in a volume not to be missed.

Our collection of Ancient Golds is a unique set of 468 jewels. Most of them were produced between the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, intended both to adorn the elegance of bourgeois women or for religious devotion (many of these jewels were intended to adorn the traditional costumes of women of San Giovanni in Fiore and other towns in Calabria) and also document the traumatic phenomenon of southern emigration. Many of the golds in the collection have styles such as floral, liberty and art nouveaux, which makes us understand how Calabria was open to various European artistic currents.

The objects are mainly in red or yellow gold, low carat and some of them have been restored and made functional again. Our collection is therefore a testimony of our traditions, of what society was like and of their everyday life.

The cover of the volume Collezione Ori Antichi

“A deep bond between knowledge, know-how and the soul of places.”

Italy has always made the intertwining of beauty, art, community and creativity a fundamental trait of its identity and an element of strength. The great economic historian Carlo Cipolla defined it as “a vocation, the ancient Italian propensity to produce things that the world likes in the shadow of bell towers”.

A deep bond between knowledge, know-how and the soul of places. That bond that we find in this interesting collection of the Spadafora goldsmiths of San Giovanni in Fiore, a territory that evokes the charm of the Sila and the echo of Gioacchino’s mysticism. The endorsement from Mibact (Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities) only sanctions its extraordinary interest: a testimony of the popular Calabrian goldsmith’s art particularly precious, not so much for the materials, given that once the most common ones were in light alloy and with semi-precious stones but rather for the workmanship, for the techniques now lost, for the possibility of comparing them and seeing the differences, the local particularities.

This catalog is therefore not just a journey into refined craftsmanship, popular jewels give us a filigree account of a society and its rites: the traditional dress, burials, weddings, the occasions that marked community life.

Dario Franceschini


Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism

A museum dedicated to the ancient gold

The recent reform of the MIBACT has led to the establishment of new museum poles and institutions of Superintendencies with functions mainly of protection, education and research. A renewed attention has also been instituted for those so-called “minor arts” and demo-ethno-anthropological goods, very present in our region. Thus the need arose to entrust Dr. Rosa Romano (ABAP Superintendency for the Municipality of Naples), with the collaboration of her colleague Superintendent arch. Luciano Garella, the task of verifying the historical-artistic and cultural heritage of our collection.

The work was carried out with the participation of the coordinator of the historical-artistic sector Dr. Enrichetta Salerno and the coordinator of the architectural heritage sector arch. Pasquale Lopetrone who, in addition to having reported our collection, also designed the catalog project with the aim of greater protection and for greater knowledge of its artistic and cultural importance.

 This research work resulted in a complete picture of the richness and beauty of the Calabrian goldsmith’s craft production, becoming fully entitled to the Sila museum network with a future exhibition at Camigliatello, offering it to the public to pay homage to the tradition of working precious metals that it is typical of the silane center of San Giovanni in Fiore.

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