Mary MacKillop souvenirs: Scarves and Medals 21/09/2010 – 23/09/2010

The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart did every thing they could to ensure that the souvenirs of St. Mary of the Cross remained strictly official, not tacky like these.

They commissioned two companies to make commemorative scarves and medals for the canonization. We shot pieces on both companies: Mozzoni Srl in Rome which produced the scarves; and Colombo Medaglie in Milan which created the medals.

We first visited the scarf company, a small family business run by father Natale Mozzoni and his two sons. They were great people and in classic Italian style had closed their company for the day just to let us film there, after which they invited us all to a sumptuous Roman lunch and refused to let us pay.

The next day we headed up to Milan. I took the evening off to meet a good friend of mine who is at university there. It’s a beautiful city and refreshingly easy to get around compared to Rome, because of its extensive Metro system.

We were off at 7 am (getting up this early was kind of becoming usual, but it wasn’t getting any easier). After taking a cold shower to wake-up, we loaded the car and drove to Colombo Medaglie on the outskirts of Milan.

It didn’t look like much from the outside, but inside it showed its true colours. What an amazing factory! A family business run by two brothers, Luca and Armando Colombo, passed down for three generations. It was filled with machines from the beginning of the 20th century; no computers, it was all mechanical.

They took us through the whole process of making a medal, from the clay model to the pressing of the moulds, and finally to the finished product. It was fascinating. The workers were also all great characters, from the bodybuilding metal presser to the pixie-like metal engraver.

Afterwards, again in true Italian style, the brothers gave us each a medal, took us to a local Milanese restaurant, and of course refused our offer to pay.

Brendan

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~ by brendo91 on 24/09/2010.

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