Finally, we come to the "legendary" Castello. Although it could rest on its laurels, earned over the years through wise business politics and ignoring compromises, its manager Franco Coppo relentlessly develops interesting new ideas such as endowing pipes with precious stones (about seventy pipes a year) or inventing little silver feet to help pipes stand (about 150 pieces a year).
He has created a close team of artisans- six plus himself- who work at keeping the "nobility" of Castello pipes created by Carlo Scotti untarnished. Abroad his pipes have become legendary, although in Italy their high prices seem to keep buyers away. In reality, however, sixty percent of the production is sold in Italy. Autumn will bring some surprises: first of all, the number of series produced will be cut down; secondly, a new "Castello" tobacco blend (in 50 gram pouches, as well as an elegant 100 gram tin), introduced at the Dortmund Fair, might make it to Italy by the end of the year. The biggest surprises, however, will come next year during the fiftieth birthday celebrations of Castello‘s first pipe. It came into the world on May 17, 1947 and having taken seven months to make due to the inexperience of the workers, who also signed their names in pencil on the bowl! All considered this is a positive panorama. Through all our ups and downs, despite over-valued foreign products and our own fondness for them, the Italian pipe industry manages to keep its head well above water... and even at times to spoil the fun of some over-inflated foreign manufacturers.
Prossimo articolo: The Savinelli Collection - part I