The happiest confinement : Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine

The happiest confinement


It all happens out of sight from street
gawkers, on a nondescript lane, in
a one-floor building—modern but
unremarkable—on the south side of
Reggio Calabria, Italy, between the historic
town center and the airport. It has
been going on for 35 years, here at Italy’s
southernmost point, the “toe of the boot.”
For most of his life, artisan Fabrizio
Romeo has gone about steadily, quietly
pouring his creative spirit into the crafting
of fine Italian-style freehand pipes.
One of the last of the Calabrian pipemen,
Romeo is not unknown to studious
attendees in the U.S. pipe show circuit.
Even so, despite a product footprint that
spans continents, for most American
consumers he still has managed always
to fly a bit under the radar. One online
commenter observed of Romeo that he
“does not particularly want to become
rich or famous.” Of course, that kind of
humility only serves to make his story all
the more endearing.


Ask 56-year-old Romeo how many
pipes he has brought into the world and
he answers with a playful laugh. “I’ve
made thousands,” he replies simply.
“Thousands.” Much of that output has
landed on the European market, especially
in Italy, which partially accounts
for Romeo’s positioning as something
of a pipemaking mystery man to
American buyers. You can find his
pieces offered in Italian shops such as
Tabaccheria Riggio Carlo in Palermo,
Rapisarda in Messina and Scrufari in Reggio
Calabria, the town of Romeo’s birth.
You can also find his pipes at Denis Lu in
Hong Kong. Word of Romeo’s straightgrain
freeforms is only slowly spreading
among pipe appreciators stateside, but
worldwide demand for his pipes keeps
him close to his workshop.


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Category: Feature Article, Pipe Articles, Summer 2017

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