Piacenza. The artistic working of iron with hammer
Province of Piacenza
The handicraft in Grazzano Visconti is famous, not only thanks to inlaid wood, but also to the artistic working of iron with hammer. This technique was spread in the past, when the most skilled forgers were able to shape a rose with all its petals, by using a hammer or to manufacture strong railings without linking the elements by autogenous or electrical welding.
The working of iron in Grazzano was already thriving in the second half of the 19th century, thanks to the activity of Giuseppe Savi, a versatile goldsmith who had a laboratory in the block in front of the entrance of the castle.
His son Francesco, improved the technique and was one of the first craftsman who collaborated with the Earl Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone in furnishing the hamlet with a Medieval style. He conceived and manufactured the unique arch framing with four bridle for carrying buckets with a dragon head, characterising the well in Gian Galeazzo Visconti Square.
Cesare Leonardi first worked for the Savi family and then he became known because he manufactured the wide railing that divides the village from the park of the castle and the artistic grating in the nave of the church in the Guido Visconti di Modrone Square.
After reading the page of Gospel telling the betrayal of the Apostle Peter, the master craftsman Cesare decided to forge the cock of Grazzano. Another curiosity is that the original cock is 33 centimetres tall, recalling the age when Jesus was sentenced to die on the cross.
The cock is certainly the most famous theme in the range of wrought-iron products from this area, even though it was not immediately appreciated by Visconti, who preferred another work by Leonardi, that is to say the stork. Other nobleman and artists who often visited Grazzano had a different opinion and it was the Queen Elena di Savoia who convinced the Duke. She saw one of the cocks in the laboratories of Cesare Leonardi and exclaimed: “It really seems the cock sings”.