Skilled artisans generation after generation produce the 'testi', the low tin-plated copper pans for vegetable pies and farinata whose name derives from the shields of the Arabs at the time of the Genoese Republic.
According to legend, farinata, one of the
best-known dishes of poor Ligurian cuisine, was born on the shields exposed to
the sun by the Romans defending Genoa in the Second Punic War. In the Middle
Ages and later in the Renaissance, farinata (chickpea flour, water, salt and
extra-virgin olive oil), as it is today, was cooked in a wood-fired oven,
inside 'testi', the low-sided tin-plated copper pans, whose name derives from
the Saracen shields that resembled them so much ('testooh').
Since then, only skilled Genoese craftsmen have
produced these round baking trays, with a diameter ranging from 30 to 150
centimetres, which in Liguria are used not only for farinata but also for other
typical products such as cheese focaccia and vegetable pies, in ovens,
the traditional ones, with low vaults.
One of these, Giancarlo Faccio's Copper Workshop in
the Rivarolo district of Genoa, was founded in 1860 by his great-grandfather
and since then has been hosting the specialised activity of a small group of
craftsmen who devote themselves to metalworking with skill, attention to detail
and age-old mastery.
Lovers of authentic cuisine who prefer the 'testo' for
the pan, as well as restaurants and 'sciamadde' (small eateries in Genoa's
historic centre) offering typical products are the traditional customers of
this artisan workshop, as attested by the compliments that abound on social