The Biordi Story | Celebrating 75 Years | Famiglia Biordi, Savio & Baldini
It all started 75 years ago, in 1946, Emilio Biordi, a native of the Abruzzo region of Italy, opened Biordi Artigianato Italiano, on Columbus Avenue in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. North Beach, an Italian village within the City limits of San Francisco, became home to Emilio’s store at 412 Columbus Avenue, where you will find us today. Emilio featured a broad range of Italian Handicrafts and Products including espresso machines, ravioli cutters, rolling pins and pasta machines - ceramics were tucked away in every corner. Locals and visitors came from far and wide on the spreading word of the beautiful Italian Majolica Ceramics available at Biordi. Chuck Williams of Williams-Sonoma was known to purchase items from Biordi’s, including the famed Rooster pitcher.
While Emilio was building Biordi as a business, Gianfranco Savio, who would eventually become Emilio’s successor, was absorbing the glorious Renaissance art and architecture of his native Florence city. Arriving in San Francisco in his early 30’s, Gianfranco taught Italian at Holy Names University in Oakland and worked for an Italian bank, as he longed for a career that connected more intimately with Italian culture. Hearing that Emilio’s Biordi Art Imports business was for sale in 1977, Gianfranco (“I already loved the store”), met Emilio, who was then 75 and ready to retire. He discovered a kindred spirit in Emilio, which led to Gianfranco’s 42-year ownership of Biordi Art Imports. For a full year following Gianfranco’s purchase, Emilio mentored and guided Gianfranco in every aspect of the business and his place in the North Beach neighborhood.
Gianfranco traveled throughout Italy in search of the finest artisans, establishing long-lasting relationships with many artisan families represented in the store today. After a lifelong dedication to Italian Arts and Culture, successfully establishing Biordi Art Imports as the premiere retailer for high quality, original Italian Pottery, know as Majolica, in the United States, Gianfranco, retiring in 2018 has placed the future of Biordi in the hands of Michael and Deborah Baldini, ensuring that the Biordi legacy continues. Like Emilio Biordi in the past, you will many days find Gianfranco at the store, welcoming customer friends and visitors alike.
Long-time Biordi customers, we are the third Italian family to hold the Biordi passion for Italy and Italian majolica ceramics. Our Families, of Italian descent, are of the Earth - Agriculture and Viticulture. We have an appreciation of the Italian clay earth from which emerges Italian Majolica, Wine and Culinary delights, which soothe our soul, warm our hearts, and tease our sensibilities.
A visit to Italy - stepping through the open door of Biordi and strolling through our North Beach neighborhood, you will find yourself inquiring of your parents and checking family histories to confirm what you feel is true – “Sono Italiano!”
Join us as we celebrate our 75th Year!
Our Mission is our Passion.
To keep this artform alive, to keep our artisans painting, and to offer you beautiful, functional art you can use that brings joy to your everyday!