Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 24, 2021

Carlo the blacksmith

My friend Erica,from Sapori e Saperi, took me to meet Carlo Galgani, the amazing blacksmith in Pescaglia. He works inside a stone building filled with the tools and machinery built over the centuries by his family, a long line of iron workers. The forge in this building began in 1794, but Carlo’s family have been blacksmiths since the mid 1500s.

This ironworks is still powered by water, one of very few still operating with this system. It uses something called tromba del vento or tromba idroeolica. A canal brings water to a pool above the building and it drops down a pipe, which somehow (don’t ask me) brings air to the charcoal fire and powers the machinery. I did look it up on Wikipedia, but it was in complicated Italian. I invite you to find more information.

It was a pleasure to meet this engaging character who was delighted to show us is creations and the tools used to make them. He is much more than a blacksmith, he is theatre, and I love his hat.


He took us outside to show us the pipe for the water and where it enters the building.


The workshop is a treasure trove of wonderful iron things. It reminded me in a small way of my grandfathers’ workbenches. They were both carpenters and I loved to play with the vices and tools on those benches. One grandfather had a macadamia nut tree and the vice came in handy for cracking those tough nuts.

Anyone interested in gadgets, tools and bits of iron could get lost here for hours.


Carlo was happy to lead us through the making of a pizza paddle.

At one point a machine wasn’t working, even after being hit by a hammer, which usually fixes everything. We offered to go for a short walk to give him time to sort it out.

We walked up behind the workshop to see the canal which brings the water to the pipe and further up the track leading to the creek.


By the time we got back everything was operating as it should and the demonstration continued.


I think it is wonderful that this business has survived for centuries and I hope it will continue. It will if people keep buying the things made here. One of our little party bought an impressive machete and I ordered a mezzaluna which will have beautiful carved olive wood handles.

I recommend a visit to meet Carlo if you are nearby. He is great fun and watching him work is special. I feel privileged to have been able to see him in action and look forward to my own hand made piece. Thank you Erica for taking me there.

All this watching made us hungry so we went on a bit further to Gombitelli to have lunch at Ristorante Lucese. We had delicious cervo, fried artichokes and potato chips. The restaurant is in a beautiful forest setting and is run by a friendly young couple. I will happily return…perhaps when I go back to collect my mezzaluna.


Carlo Galgani

Localita San Giuseppe



(39) 3465123385


Bar Ristorante Lucese

Via Lucese 2002




Sapori e Saperi


  1. What an incredible experience……but sadly the art of the blacksmith is a dying one.

    • It is a pity that these arts are disappearing. I found the visit fascinating.

  2. What an interesting visit you had to Carlo’s workshop (it was interesting itself). Certainly hope his art survives although hardly & sadly never does. Loved Carlo’s hat – what is it made of? Also loved the profile photo of Carlo it looked a typical Italian profile. Thanks for taking us on your visit.

    • Carlo’s hat seemed to be made of paper. It is a pity these skills will be lost. I will treasure my mezzaluna when it is made.

  3. That is the sort of visit I love to have in Italy. So many of the artisans are fading away, with no one to appreciate what they do and/or no one to carry on their craft.

    I think you need to look up an English explanation of Bernoulli’s principle to explain how a current of water can produce air to supply the fire!

    Did you read about the 5.8 magnitude earthquake we had here in Victoria! Surprisingly little damage, and no one hurt. My cat went crazy though. (Temporarily.)

    • I could only find an Italian explanation, but will try again. I hope someone will carry on this workshop. It would be a shame if it disappears.
      I heard about he earthquake. I have experienced one here and didn’t like it at all.

  4. A wonderful adventure. I hope that Carlo will find an apprentice.

    • He has a grandson who is interested, but there needs to be more people interested.

  5. Doug would love a visit….if and when 🤔.

    • It is a place full of treasures.

  6. What a lovely man , and to watch him working an ancient craft .
    Really interesting Debra . Many thanks

    • He clearly loves his work. I hope he is there for many more years.

  7. It looks as If the literal translation of the Italian is ‘hydraulic trombone’ – how fabulous! And I love his hat. Please show us your mezzaluna when you get it – I’m sure it will be imbued with the magic of that workshop.

    • The mezzaluna will be well loved when it comes. There will be photos.

  8. Debra
    Another wonderful story. We found a similar blacksmith at Fabricche de Vallicho way back in 1995 and purchased a shovel and a hoe for their wonderful craftsmanship. Sadly when we made a return visit around 2010, he was not welcoming and seemed to resent our visit as an intrusion. He may well have retired by then.

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