The World’s Oldest Bell Foundry Has Been In Business For Nearly 1,000 Years

They use the same techniques to make the bells as they did in the Middle Ages.

If you don’t know about the Marinelli family, the longtime suppliers of Pontifica Founderia di Campane, the oldest bell foundry in the world, this is your chance to learn.

Dylan Barth of Business Insider went on a trip to Agnone, Italy to find out more and you will be blown away by everything that he was able to uncover. Can you believe that this family has been in business ever since the Middle Ages?

Photo: YouTube/Business Insider

Their longevity and attention to detail have provided them with no shortage of amazing opportunities. They have provided the bells for a wide range of iconic structures, including The Vatican and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Once you are given the chance to see how this family runs their factory, you will understand why they have been beloved for generations.

“The Marinelli family has been running the factory for 26 generations. Armando Marinelli sketches bell designs by hand, the same way his ancestors did it. Very large bells are cast in a pit…but it rarely happens nowadays. That’s because the foundry only operates when there’s demand,” they explain in the video below.

“While the false bell dries, sculptors prepare the decorations. …They place the pieces of wax on the false bell. Next, they apply more clay to form the top cup, called the mantle. It provides the outside shape of the bell with the wax designs embossed into it. Once this dries, they lift the mantle to expose the false bell. Then, it’s finally time to destroy it to make way for the bronze,” Marinelli says.

Barth went on to note that the foundry is concerned about their future prospects. “In 1924, Pope Pius XI granted the Marinellis an official recognition. And they’ve cast many celebratory bells over the years, like the one for Pope John Paul II’s millennium jubilee. But the foundry has also seen desperate times throughout its long history. Nazi troops occupied it in World War II.

Photo: YouTube/Business Insider

In the 1950s, a fire destroyed the original foundry and many of its historical records. Now, in the 21st century, Armando is looking for ways to keep the business afloat.

Overall, the family’s focus is on creating art, so the Marinellis have faith that the timeless nature of their work will help them survive.” We are certainly wishing them all the best!

Check out their incredible work in the video below:

You can keep up with the Marinelli family on Instagram, @campanemarinelli.