We've been seeking and collecting art and history since 1977

Artis was founded in July 1977 and, to date, it boasts the world's largest collection of antique fireplaces, with hundreds of authentic and certified pieces.

A small aside, which may raise a smile but which well represents what was, at that moment in history, the Italian culture regarding the topic of "fireplace": at that time, in Italy, the idea of the fireplace was mostly focused on the so-called "tavernetta fireplace," what I refer to as "The Flintstones' fireplace" ("Wilma, give me the club", remember?!), a hearth made of large exposed bricks and wooden beams, all (to make the aesthetics even worse) now made industrially.

Headquarters Artis

Artis deals exclusively in antique fireplaces and equally antique accessories; it does not sell newly produced artifacts.

"Promotion and culture of the antique fireplace"

After this trend, which lasted for twenty years, the first marble and stone frames produced by the first machines (pantographs) appeared, vulgar copycats of antique fireplace models. Ugly ones that, however, cost an arm and a leg, much more than the ( truly artistic) antique fireplaces.

Artis was born precisely from the consideration that an antique fireplace was worth a hundred times more than its ugly, industrial copy and that, over time, it would always increase in value and not only hedonistically and culturally cheer its owner. And this prophecy has certainly been fulfilled; real values, net of inflation, have at least tripled for the most popular models of fireplaces while they have EXPLODED for the rarest models, many of which have STRATOSPHERIC VALUES today.

This, ever since, has been our motto: "Promotion and culture of the antique fireplace".

Our history

How our company was born

The moment when I write these lines (a beautiful day in July) has a special flavor and meaning for me. In fact, one day in July 43 years ago my personal adventure in the world of the antique fireplace began. Forty-five years, a lifetime, a heritage made of experiences and passion, and also the time to draw some conclusions, to make some considerations or to "report" on this world, not by all unfortunately, known.

Well, I have decided to write this reportage starting from my own little story, mind you, not out of megalomania, but more simply because it comes easier to me to write in the first person, and perhaps it will be easier for you to follow the tale of a bet in place of reading a classic article.

In that July '77, there were four or five sellers of antique fireplaces in Italy, mostly located in large cities such as Rome, Milan or Turin, close, in short, to those few possible customers of refined tastes and economic means.
Yes, because back then the antique fireplace seemed to be reserved for an elite of amateurs and the wealthy; in short, it was considered a luxury item, and its marketing was restricted to models of high epoch and/or of great decorative load, obviously suitable only for the Paperoni.
I, on the other hand, perhaps because of my young age and the happy righteous illusions that youth entails, had in my head the project of proposing to the general public salvaged fireplaces of mostly nineteenth-century era, which cost decidedly little at the time despite the fact that they were all of great stylistic, historical and sculptural quality.
My reasoning was this: The antique fireplace costs half as much as the equivalent new fireplace re-produced "in style," so why shouldn't people buy the old one (hand-carved, pumice-stone polished etc.) in lieu of being content with a reproduction made in a factory and spit out of a CNC machine?

A gamble that the strength of my naiveté intimately already gave for won, whereas this was not and has not been the case, so much so that even today, so many decades after that July '77, the popularity of the antique fireplace, ALTHOUGH INCREASED MUCH compared to a few decades ago, is entirely marginal compared to that of the new or modern fireplace whatever you call it.

So let's return to the present day and take stock of the situation.

What has changed from the years of my youth, anagraphically and commercially?

It has changed that those few stores specialized in antique fireplaces have increased, the customers have changed, now no longer made up of only Scrooge McDuckers, but also made up of people with very normal wallets, the interest of the various interior design magazines has changed, in every issue of which there is never a lack of at least one photograph of an antique fireplace…

So, you may ask, why do you say you have not won the bet?

My answer is this:
Increasing wealth in our country has greatly increased the number of fireplace owners but... is it ever possible that out of one hundred fireplaces sold ninety-seven (my estimate, of course, which sometimes seems even optimistic to me) are industrially produced and only two or three examples come from the antique salvage market? I am sure that many of you would think that the antique fireplace is hardly sold because it costs too much today... And instead, this is precisely where my greatest bewilderment comes from and the certainty that my bet is not at all won: the antique fireplace, in the vast majority of models, costs the same amount or even less than the "new" one!!!

Another very important thing: it is not true, as many people believe, that antique fireplaces are only large in size. In fact, setting aside the vintage stone fireplaces, it is possible to find on the market a myriad of antique fireplaces (in marble, stone, cast iron or wood) of small, even very small, sizes. They were, these, the fireplaces built to specifically adorn bedrooms, and since every living room in a house or apartment corresponded to at least three bedrooms, the count is quickly made, for every four fireplaces, three will be of reduced size.

Another important element worth pointing out: Want to insert a prefabricated "heating" hearth into the mouth/firebox of an antique frame? No problem, a simple fitting (in heavy fireproof plasterboard, pre-painted metal sheet, ceramic, plastered masonry etc.) between the profiles of the frame and those of the prefab and that's it, your antique fireplace will give your home both charm and abundance of warmth.

I hope I don't come across as venal if I have dwelt so much on the possible costs of antique fireplaces, but I believe that the economic part has its importance, not everyone has money galore, and so, those who may have set a low budget for the fireplace, now they know that even with that they can make their own an artwork full of history and beauty.

In conclusion, I have not won my bet, at least not completely, but I am not giving up, I have just passed the baton on to my son Enrico, who is passionate just like me about the Beauty that the Past can give us (as for the Future, I would have less confidence...).

Discover the categories

Antiquity, uniqueness, exclusivity,
elegance, timeless items

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