Stories of “Artigianato e Palazzo”: the man who taught Daniel Day-Lewis how to be a cobble

‘Artigianato e Palazzo’ (Crafts and Palace), is an exhibition, dedicated to quality crafts, that takes place every year at Corsini Gardens.


Here, realities that are truly excellences gather every year. Neri Torrigiani and the Princess Giorgiana Corsini conceived it. “Artigianato e Palazzo includes and presents a real microcosm of artisans who have decided to devote their entire lives to their passions.


Accessories, culinary arts, furniture, art, costume jewelry, hats, and clothing.


These are some of the products presented at the fair by the artisans participating. The most interesting aspect of this event is that wonderful stories are discovered when one stops to talk with any of these shops’ representatives.


Amongst the stories heard, the one that is most striking, for its nearly surreal nature, making it sound almost like a fable, is that told by Mario Bremer.


Mario Bremer is one of the most important and talented master shoemakers in the world. With his shoes of high manufacturing and elegance, he earned an important name in the high niche fashion, which surpasses any temporary taste or trend by being pure style… And we know it…

Fashion changes, style never does.


Mario Bremer’s shop is famous also thanks to a surreal story. One of those stories that anyone would wish to tell their grandchildren. A story where people, places and trade are the co-protagonists of the same plot and all have an equal level and are supporting one another.

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But, let’s start in order:


Let us contextualize the scene: Florence 1998. During the final years of the 90’s, Florence happened to experience a splendor, which will be difficult to match, characterized by big summer projects led by the council administrations, Fiorentina playing in the Champion’s League, crazy purchases and the openings of shopping centers.


In the area on the other side of the Arno River (Oltrarno), in a period before it became highly touristic, a small shoemakers’ shop, managed by two brothers, decided that it wanted to export luxury shoes all over the world. The shop was able to become a name by acquiring Hollywood actors as its clients.


To create this story, we now need a famous actor, possibly Irish, charming and intriguing. Daniel Day-Lewis, the mysterious protagonist of “There Will Be Blood”, “In the Name of the Father”, “A Room With a View” and the unforgettable performance as Bill the butcher in “Gangs of New York”.


Tired of the life of a Hollywood Star, after the movie “The Boxer”, Daniel decided to retire in one of the most poetic neighborhoods in the world, equal to Paris, and namely the “Oltrarno”, with address in Santo Spirito, in Florence.


Unfortunately, those paparazzi’s cameras do not have any geographical limit and Daniel Day-Lewis was not able to find peace in Florence after all. He was living with constant mediatic attention.


The situation was becoming progressively heavier, until one day he decided to attempt to run away from the journalists. While running through the Oltrarno, he found himself in front of the window of his favorite shoemaker: Mario Bremer.


He went inside and, although nobody knows what they told each other, those words, which we can only imagine, have now become a legend.


From that moment on, the hard-working Daniel Day-Lewis stayed in the shop as a shoemaker apprentice. With an impeccable discipline, he learned the secrets of the trade up to the point of being able to create his own models.


The Bremer family adopted the Irish actor and he did not leave the city until an Italian-American convinced him to move. This was Martin Scorsese, who came down to the Oltrarno to beg Daniel to accept the role of Bill the butcher. But this is another story…

Artigianato e Palazzo encloses also this type of stories, of people that every day put passion into their work, mixed with sacrifices and most especially a human component, highly above the average.


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