top of page

The Art of Perforated Steel

The art of steel working in Molise can be traced back to the fifteenth century when its primary purpose was the production of weapons.

But in 1750, an edict of King Carlo III di Borbone, prohibited the production of weapons in the Kingdom of Naples, and therefore in the Molise area as well. The local artisans then began to make objects for agriculture or daily use, such as razors and knives.

Rings, scissors and knifes made by Antonio Muccino

In the 1800s there was an important evolution in the manufacture thanks to the spread of the "traforo" technique, which used a drill and files to make engravings of ornamental motifs, almost "embroideries" of steel.

The artisans from Campobasso were renowned for their stunning creations: scissors, small knives, razors and cutlery sets were commissioned by the most important families of the kingdom. A century later, during the second world war, this artisanal production was completely abandoned due to the lack of raw material. Fortunately in the ‘80, some local artisans started to use the technique again and tried to teach it to the younger generation. Fast-forward to today, unfortunately there are not many people that are using or studying the art of “traforo”.

One of them is Antonio Muccino, who learned the technique from a master decades ago and is still producing beautiful objects on commission. I was lucky enough to be able to see him at work and let me tell you, it is a fascinating process! It can take up to months to produce a single object, according to the size and the design of the embroidery. This is the reason why those objects are so special and obviously not cheap: it takes a long time and lots of practice to learn how to design and produce them. Antonio is one of the few masters left that knows all the secrets of “Acciaio traforato” and its dream is to open a school to form a new generation of artisans. Let’s hope he will be able to do it one day so this art will not be forgotten.


bottom of page