The tradition of
making pipes by hand in Recanati, Italy, dates back to the 1850s. Later, in the
1900s, there was already a flourishing pipe making establishment called Hully
Briars, which at that time employed about 40 workers. Later still, Mr. Igino
Moretti and his wife joined Hully Briars, when the business was at its peak of
prosperity, employing 50 people.
While half of the overall pipe production of
Hully Briar was destined to a third party, the other half was sold under the
name BEP-SON, which is a combination of the first syllables of the ownersí
names: Beppe and Sonia.
Soon after that, Mr. Moretti became the
principal Hully Briars pipe maker, but, unfortunately, the company had to close
down. After having passed a railway job contest, Mr. Moretti had to choose
between driving trains and making pipes! The latter was the final choice, and
consequently, Mr. Moretti founded the brand "Moretti Recanati" in April 1968.
During his first years, and while continuing to
make pipes for others, Mr. Moretti started producing the first hand made pipes
carrying the name ìMoretti. These pipes gradually became the integral part of
Mr. Moretti's overall production.
Today, Marco Biagini, Mr. Moretti's son-in-law,
continues to produce the Moretti pipes based on the teachings and tradition of
the founder. Mr. Biagini produces approximately 500 carefully hand made Moretti
pipes a year.
For the pipe smoking world traveler, the
Moretti pipes are still made in the small town of Recanati, in the Marche region
of Italy. In fact, the Moretti pipes are produced in a workshop located across
the street from the house where the famous Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi was
Today Moretti Pipe is famous all over the
world. Each Moretti pipe is meticulously made by hand using Calabrian briar
seasoned for 10-15 years and Bog Oak – Morta seasoned for 4000-6000 years.
Unlike most of the hand made pipes available these days, a Moretti pipe is made
completely by hand, with almost no elaborate machine work. For example, Marco
holds the piece of briar in his hand while boring the tobacco chamber (and, of
course, the same with the shank bore)! The process is rewarding as much as it is
demanding. One of the most important features that distinguishes the Moretti
pipes is the fact that they are almost all of a smooth natural finish (it's
estimated that the rusticated pipes form only about 5% of total production, and
they are usually rusticated to meet a cutomer's request). So, what does Marco do
with pipes with too many visible sandpits and defects? He simply discards them!
Any piece of briar which demonstrates too many sandpits or cracks are simply
thrown away. Normally such pieces would be sandblasted or rusticated (carved) by
other pipe makers. This does not mean that the Moretti pipes are sold for high
prices. Surprisingly, an entry price for a smooth natural finish Moretti pipe
would be less than most sandblasted/rusticated pipes available from other pipe
makers nowadays. However, Mr. Biagini also produces unique straight-grain pipes
that would be a great source of pride for both the maker and the lucky pipe
smoker and collector who owns it. Marco seems to be happy with his pipe making
philosophy, which is unlikely to change after 41 years of pipe making history
and of professional, artistic and financial satisfaction.