Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018

Tavani family boasts three generations of papal artisans


(By Emanuela De Crescenzo)
Rome, February 26 - The restored bronze bed with
gold-plated canopy, where Benedict XVI slept during his stays at
Castel Gandolfo, and the moving platform, with its bronze
handrail, used by John Paul II to say his sermons at the end of
his papacy, are just two of the creations by 68-year-old Italian
artisan Aldo Tavani, who specializes in gold, silver and bronze.
For three generations his family, which began with
commissions for Pope Pius X, has been offering its services to
the papacy.
His workshop is located in the heart of Rome, a few steps
from the very central Piazza Navona.
For two years his firm worked on the restoration of the
Bronze Gate (Portone di Bronzo) of the Palazzo Apostolico,
originally built in the 1600s and which is located under the
colonnade in Saint Peter's Square.
"The job took a long time and was difficult," Tavani says.
"The gate was inaugurated in 2007 by Benedict, who in that
occasion complimented us for our work".
The second time the artisan met Benedict was when a group
of nuns donated to the pope a monstrance, made by Tavani, which
was decorated with wheat and grape symbols.
Tavani had more frequent encounters with John Paul. "We met
some five or six times, the first when I repaired a metal chest
of drawers which contained the pope's collection of medals,"
recalls the artisan.
"The last time was when he said the mass to Divine Love.
Every time I came, he would say: 'I know you well'".
Tavani also made many of the gifts Benedict brought on his
travels abroad.
"In 2009, we made the hanging lamp in silver, with three
chains, which the pope donated to the Sanctuary of the Nativity
in Nazareth," Tavani recalls.
"From the lamp's design to its production it took 90 days.
In 2009 Benedict donated a gold-plated silver crown, with
semi-precious stones, made by us, to the Bambinello in Prague,
which was delivered during his trip to the Czech Republic.
"In 2010, maintaining what is a time-honored tradition
dating back to the 1500s, the pope brought as a gift to the
Sanctuary of Fatima the golden rose with a rosary, always made
by us, while in 2012 the golden rose was donated by the pope to
the Madonna of Coimbra in Cuba".
Obviously, Tavani points out, all the works are unique in
their kind. "During the papacy of John Paul, we made about 30
gold roses and we made eight during Benedict's".
The Tavani workshop is also specialized in other papal
regalia, including the crosses and rings worn by cardinals and
bishops, as well as other, very important pieces Tavani has been
creating for decades: the papal coat of arms, in silver, which
are applied to the gifts given by the pope. "I made about 300
for John Paul and about 50 for Benedict," Tavani says.
"They are bass-reliefs and it takes about 20 days to
complete them.
"For Pope Luciani (John Paul I) I had just finished his
coat of arms, but he died before we could deliver it. Even for
the new pope, the delivery will take place within 20 days of his
If you ask Tavani his opinion on who the new pope will be,
he replies: "My predictions have always been wrong, but I think
a Central or South American has a strong chance".
"I strongly believe, however, in the old saying: 'He who
enters the conclave as a pope, leaves as a cardinal," Tavani
says smiling.

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