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Florentine Reproductions

Ponziani custom furniture

If you think that the reproduction 17th- and 18th-century Venetian, Genoese, Sicilian, English, French, and Dutch antiques in Ponziani's crowded showroom look amazingly authentic, ask to see the workshop in the back: The cavernous 16th-century space is full of artisans making and decorating custom furniture by hand, exactly the way it was done 300 years ago. The firm began more than a century ago as restorers of antique painted furniture, but since World War II has also been making perfect copies of these ornately adorned, gilded, and lacquered pieces. (Below, an original ca. 1600 lacquered armoire built to house an organ complete with pipes and keyboard, $25,000; reproduction, $4,500.) Owner Maurizio Ponziani has catalogs of hundreds of armoires, cabinets, desks, doors, boiseries, ceiling ornamentation, and other furnishings that the workshop has produced over the years, as well as a small library of art and antiques books from which clients can choose to have whatever they please duplicated. Although Ponziani prides itself on historical accuracy—the firm recently restored an entire Venetian palazzo on the Grand Canal to its 18th-century splendor—it's hardly pedantic: Conductor Zubin Mehta had a dazzling black-japanned Queen Anne bureau-bookcase copied, minus its drawers, so it would fit a television. $1,500-$15,000. 27 Via Santo Spirito;
39-055-287958; fax 39-055-219974. $

$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than American Express.