There is an air of mystery and old world charm that can only be evoked by a hand-carved pipe. Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini and Leonard Cohen were all iconic gents who enjoyed smoking a pipe from time to time. A certain level of class and intellectualism is conveyed by this smart, unconventional accessory.
Savinelli, a Milan-based manufacturer, produces artisanal pipes from the highest-quality raw Italian materials. The Savinelli company never cuts corners, only wood. They are commonly considered to be the world leaders in smoking pipe production.
The Savinelli story dates back to 1876 when Achille Savinelli Sr. opened one of the very first stores to deal exclusively in smoking accessories. You can imagine that this idea was as revolutionary then as it would have been to be one of the first head shops in our lifetime. Savinelli’s little storefront was in downtown Milan, near the Piazza Duomo. The original shop still stands in this location today.
Savinelli Sr. began the business of designing pipes in this little shop. He would give him designs to local artisans to execute. Meanwhile, his brother and sister moved to Genoa and opened a similar store, allowing the Savinelli name to gain traction.
Eventually, Achille Jr. took over running the shop and it was his vision and intelligence that concluded that selling the pipes alone was not a recipe for long-lasting success; they would have to produce their own pipes in-house. At the time, the best-selling pipes in Italy were being made abroad. Why allow this when Italy had the highest quality raw materials?
And this is where Savinelli’s niche of high-quality production began. The flames of national pride were stoked, especially given the fact that the country was coming out of WWI at the time. Everyone was eager to purchase Made in Italy excellence and help their local economy. Sound familiar?
Giancarlo Savinelli, great-grandson of the original founder, is now running the company and he intends to pass it on to his son Achille. The most important production values of the company have remained intact over the years: high-quality briar, meticulous multi-step carving, manual paint application and extreme precision during the finishing process.
René Magritte might say, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” but Savinelli says, “Questa è una vera pipa!”