The thriving economy of the Republic led to the development over the centuries of flourishing arts and trades. 1248 saw the establishment of the Guild of Fraveghi – goldsmiths and silversmiths – which spread out in the area around the delle Vigne Church. And the “Vigne” was the place where Gio. Batta Gismondi began his apprenticeship in 1763. This trade would run in the family and at the beginning of the 19th century his son Pietro moved the business to the more centrally located “delle Fucine” area. In 1880 Giuseppe, in turn, relocated to the Palazzo Centurione stables in Via Galata. The shop has remained virtually unchanged ever since with the exterior and interior in black lacquered wood, geometric counters and display cases, perhaps originally used as shelves to store the silverware before they were turned into display cabinets. The workshop where Uncle Pippo worked as an engraver until 1950 is now a storeroom reminiscent of the shops in Portobello Road. In the shop itself, which is always crowded, under the watchful eye of the Virgin Mary the silver is worked according to classic models that are not influenced by the latest passing fashion. There are metal working and forming tools together with designs that have been used by generation after generation, documenting centuries of craftsmanship. Some of the original equipment is still used today to produce 100% handmade objects.
The present owners of “F.lli Gismondi” are the seventh generation of direct descendents of Gio. Batta. Ferdinando, his wife Giuseppina and their daughter Giorgia celebrated the 250th anniversary of silversmithing with the “Torretta” hallmark – the punch used for hallmarking by the Genoese master silversmiths for over seven centuries.