Wednesday, June 15, 2011

La Ferramenta

At Strada Maggiore, 7, in Bologna is a wondrous place, Ferramenta Castaldini.  A ferramenta is a hardware store, and this one must be in the top five of the best I’ve ever visited.  (Doesn’t everyone keep a list of great hardware stores?)   Out for a stroll one day, Cyndy was attracted by the vast array of baking tins and other tools of the cucina in one of the show windows.  We went back together and she had to drag me out gibbering and pointing at all the beautiful goods.

Today we returned and actually bought something, in part so I’d have an excuse to take a few pictures without too much embarrassment.  We bought a screwdriver along with a special key to open the brass plate that houses the campanelli (doorbells) and residents directory at the portone (big front door) so I can put our names there.  Here’s the little packet the clerk made up to hold our tool, and the tool itself.

And here are some photos of the store inside.  (If you click on a picture it should open in a larger format in a new window.  You can search out some of the things on offer.)

First are shelves of baking tins, pots and other cose per la cucina (things for the kitchen):

Next is a look back along the service counter and the bank of bins behind it with beautiful fittings of all kinds, many remnants of another age.

And now an array of ceiling medallions for light fixtures, and if you look carefully, some replacement candle holders for your chandelier and a few supports for your heavy draperies:

In the foreground at right below are tools to cut pasta dough in various ways.  Below and behind are knobs, pulls, latches, stops, pins and angles in brass, bronze and glass.  At the far left edge of the photo is the cookie cutter rack.  Hundreds of shapes.

Door hardware is next.  Bologna has lots of very big doors with beautiful handles, keyhole decorations, knockers, hinges and bosses.  Some of the rolls of chain can be seen here as well.  There must be 40 kinds at least.

Decorative finials and drapery rod caps:

And finally, repair and replacement pulls, handles and filigree for your antique furniture:

These pictures are just a small sample of what's packed into this small store, yet the sales clerks in the ferramenta seemed to know where everything was and what it was for.  The fellow ahead of me bought a beautiful board for rolling out pasta and shaping it on, about 3-feet square.  A woman was matching some old brass doorknobs.  There were tools for every trade, plumbing and electrical parts, pots for garden plants, and walls of bins and drawers full of untold treasures.

Cyndy may have to buy some of that chain to restrain me.



  1. Looks like it could be easy to get "lost" in there. Reminds me of a large scale of the old Mercer Island hardware store - what you wanted was in there, somewhere, - but the clerks could walk right up to it.

  2. You need to get one of those lion head door knockers for your cool!! I love the collection of ceiling medallions and all the filagree for furniture. I can see why you would go nuts. The ultimate hardware store.