They have their workshop in Aosta, where they have been using most diverse materials for years to realise ideas of their customers. This is where the Via Francigena brand products are born.
“We like to make dreams of others come true, to make them become concrete objects”, says Silvia Fiore: an architect, an artist, and above all a pilgrim. During past ten years she spent her holidays on foot along the Via Francigena. While walking she had an idea of creating gadgets in natural materials designed for pilgrims. Objects that she then created together with Mirko Granato, also an architect, in their Artio Design laboratory. They design customized objects, mainly in wood and ceramic, accompanying their customers from the idea to the creation of unique personalised pieces.
“I remember meeting a pilgrim at a rest stop in Altopascio in Tuscany, someone whom I shared part of the journey. Exiting a small shop along the route, he showed me a bracelet with the Via Francigena inscription. His eyes sparkled. There I understood that a sign of recognition while traveling fills a traveller’s heart. It goes far beyond an aesthetic habit. “
Silvia and Mirko remind us about times when pilgrims wore a symbol of recognitions that allowed them to be identified as such, to receive help, hospitality and protection during the journey. Historically harming, stealing or ignoring pilgrims’ needs was considered a serious sin, equivalent to a sin against the God. This is why Artio Design is inspired to create its objects with great symbolic value and light weight that could accompany, identify and lighten up pilgrims along the Via Francigena.
Wooden keychains to hang on a backpack, leather bracelets, necklaces and ceramic rosaries are the realisation of the idea that came to Silvia in Tuscany, who continues to design and create many other Francigena gadgets. Mirko and Silvia would like to rediscover many symbols of the Via Francigena and transform them into small objects that can accompany pilgrims en route, but also upon their return home to remind about the experience and keep the emotions alive.
This summer Mirko and Silvia left for a camper tour along the Francigena, traveling in reverse from Lazio and Tuscany. They stopped in various points along the stages of the journey and scattered their products, including beautiful wooden signs that identify pilgrim-friendly places.
Their products can be found on our Via Francigena Store and in many rest points along the Via Francigena!