My name is Luigi Mancini, I was born in Bardolino, on the shore of the Lake Garda. My father, Alessandro, transmitted his passion for the wood manufacturing to me.
Wood carving is not my job, I work as a smith but more than ten years ago I started realizing Christmas cribs, each year I create one or more of them and they are displayed in the main crib exhibitions in Verona and province during the Christmas time.
All my cribs are made of olive roots. The curvatures of this material so popular in this part of Italy have the quality to suggest different kind of shapes to which you can give volume and consistency. Furthermore it is possible to create miniatures of great effect and quality.
Olive is considered the tree of the Lake Garda, its importance has been well-known since the Roman times, but it was in the Middle-Age that it spread largely thanks to some abbeys, like S. Zeno in Verona and Santa Maria in Organo.
In fact the area of the Lake Garda, thanks to its mountainous configuration which protects the lake from north winds and to the moderating action of the water, has a so mild climate that its vegetation is constituted mainly by olives.
Over the years olive has been one of the most characteristic, useful and highly regarded trees. This evergreen, umbrella-shaped tree grows slowly and it occurs many years of patient work before it will complete its development.
On the other hand this slow growth is balanced by the longevity of this plant which can survive till 2000 years. This has involved also the stability of the settlement of people who have taken care over it and therefore the absence of conflicts: this is the reason why the olive is considered, from long time, a symbol of peace.
The olive wood is not easy to work because it is gnarled and hard, but the effort is balanced by the beauty of its grains which give to this kind of wood unusual shapes and a unique warmth. The root of the olive, in particular, which is characterized by complex ramifications, renders the carving a unique and unrepeatable operation.
Given the particularity of the material and its meaning, the cribs obtained by it, assume even more a unique and inestimable value. The making phases which start from the looking for a healthy olive root until the accomplishment of the cribs are characterized by a patient work of precision and search of special.
Among all the existing objects, those ones made in olive wood have the quality to last time, because of the rare value of the wood, the artistic beauty and the warmth generated when you admire them.