The art of statue making can be traced back to biblical times over 5000 years ago. Although the materials have changed over the centuries, the artisans remain true to their basic skills passed down from generation to generation. In the mountains of the Tuscany region of Northern Italy , lies the small village of Lucca , considered by many to be the prominent birthplace of statue making. A document as early as 1373 A.D. in the archives of Lucca mentions a ‘ figuri di gesso’ [fee-goo- ree/dee/jess-so], which means figure of plaster. At the beginning of the 20th century, thousands of artisans emigrated from the Tuscan province of Northern Italy into Northern Europe and then to the Americas. The Italian word for statue maker is ‘figuristi’ [fee-goo-reese-tea] and it is their trade that has beautified the world over for centuries. Whether created by a famous sculptor from the past or a current apprentice of today, one thing remains the same; every piece has a meaning and a story that will touch someone in some way. This is our story.
The year is 1922. From the village of Monti di Villa , just north of Lucca , a father and his eight sons prepare to embark on a journey that will transform their lives forever. The family of artisans is headed for North America hoping to bring their century long trade to a new land. They arrive on the Eastern shores of America with nothing more than their dream and passion for statue making. Alfeo Bracci, the youngest apprentice of the group, makes his way to the city of Chicago to begin a new life. By day he produces small plaster pieces of saints and figurines that will be sold door to door at night.
After years of hard work and faced with the new responsibility of providing for a family, he wants something more. In 1945 Alfeo, his wife Anna, and their two sons, Ron and Don, pack up their belongings and move to Southern California. It is here that Alfeo finally makes his boyhood passion a reality. In 1949, Alfeo and his wife start Al’s Garden Art and begin sculpting and making molds like the ‘old days’. Alfeo finishes each piece by hand while his wife Anna applies the finishing touches to bring the piece to life. The passion, skills, and heritage are engraved into their two sons Ron and Don. Unknown at the time, the family of four is now on their way to creating timeless pieces that will beautify yards across the nation.
Although the world and business has changed over the years, one thing remains the same. The Bracci family has stayed true to their roots and passion of creating top quality cast stone for over half a century. We hope our pieces will be enjoyed by you and your family for many years.
Welcome to a new look for a new century. Welcome to an exquisite collection of cast stone.
Ron and Don Bracci