History

The Studio Galleria Romanelli is one of the oldest active sculpture studios in Europe. The incredible building of Studio is located in the artistic heart of Florence, called the Oltrarno (“the other side of the river Arno”). Originally a church, it became Lorenzo Bartolini’s sculpture studio in the early 1800s. Bartolini (1777 – 1850) was one of the greatest Italian sculptors of the 19th century. A vast collection of models in plaster, which are made by the Master himself, is visible at Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, where the layout of the sculpture is inspired by the arrangement designed by the artist in his Studio in Borgo San Frediano. Pasquale Romanelli (1812-1887), his favourite pupil, became his successor in the direction of the sculpture atelier, and also founded an art gallery in 1860. Pasquale was the first of five generations of sculptors in the Romanelli family. He was succeeded by his son Raffaello Romanelli (1856-1928), followed by Romano Romanelli (1882-1968), then Folco Romanelli, and currently Raffaello C. Romanelli. Today the studio is still owned and run by the Romanelli family, and it has recently been restored. It is both an art gallery and a sculpture studio. The sculptures made by several generations of Romanellis, and those produced by the gallery, are spread worldwide. The previous function of the building as a church in the 15th century is still seen in the architectural features, such as the large arches and the 16 - meters - high ceilings. In the early 19th century, this space became a sculpture studio, and some of the original tools still remain here. For example, the biggest monuments are sculpted in the middle of the room on the original rotating square wooden pedestal. Also, located on both the north and south walls are two ram heads, which face one another, and were used to lift heavy sculptures. The whole place hosts hundreds of original plaster sculptures that belong to the family collection.