Barettoni già Antonibon (“già” meaning former) is one of the companies that has most contributed to the history of ceramic art, handing down to this day a magical heritage made of 400 years of alchemical recipes, “royal” supplies, and refined craftsmanship.
Located in the centre of Nove, known as the City of Ceramics, it is not only the oldest ceramic factory in Veneto, but also the one that became the most important of the Region under the aegis of the Republic of Venice. Thanks to the help of the Serenissima, in fact, Giovanni Battista Antonibon in 1727 decided to expand his business by opening a factory in his old paternal home in Nove, a 15th-century building where the company is still headquartered.
In 1762 his son Pasquale managed to produce porcelain, the precious “white gold”, creating original works of incredible mastery that were appreciated by a posh clientele from all over Europe. With the decline of the Republic of Venice, in the second half of the 19th century, Antonibon lived years of alternate fortunes until 1907 when lawyer Lodovico Barettoni bought it to save the company from closing.
Today, his nephew Ludovico, along with his family, continues the glorious tradition of the brand that over the years has provided embassies and royal houses, luxury brands such as Christian Dior, Gucci, and Tiffany, and collaborated with important museums such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Ca’ Rezzonico in Venice and of course the Museum of Ceramics of Nove.
If you are a ceramic-lover, a must-do is a guided tour of the company factory, an amazing industrial archaeology building where today each product is still created with 18th-century original stamps and finely decorated by hand. The real gem of the complex is the one-of-a-kind home museum where the 400-year historical archive of Barettoni-Antonibon is displayed in a stunning 16th-century apartment with original furniture.
After the visit, you can buy Barettoni’s classic signature products at the company store inside the factory.
The world of ceramics, which has always been characterized by secret formulas for glazes and finishes, has been the background to some of the most interesting chapters of Venetian industrial espionage. Just think that Pasquale Antonibon – famous is the rivalry with the Cozzi factory in Venice – in the 36 years of activity has supported as many as 65 causes, imposing various restrictive measures on his workforce in order to save its “secrets”.