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Founded by Florence dealers Mario and Giuseppe Bellini in 1959, in the 1970s the Florence Biennale was one of the world’s greatest fairs. Over subsequent years it lost much ground but is now making a real effort to regain some of its past international status.

Organised by local dealer Giovanni Pratesi, some 80 exhibitors line up, but although it is billed as an international event, around 65 of those dealers are Italian and the focus of the fair is very much Italian Old Masters.

There are four London dealers at the fair: Jean-Luc Baroni, Hall and Knight (who also have a gallery in New York), Trinity Fine Art and the Dover Street Gallery.

All four carry a stock of Italian Old Masters: Hall & Knight will take an oil by Antonio Joli (born Modena c.1700) and among the attractions on the stand of Jean-Luc Baroni are pendant paintings by Alesandro Magnasco, known as Il Lissandrino (born Genoa 1667).

Looking at the list of highlights Old Masters totally dominate, but there are some notable objects, among them a c.1728 chased and engraved silver coffee pot by the master goldsmith Giovanni Battista Carrera on the stand of Casartelli of Turin; a gilded and enamelled Limoges incense boat dating from the last quarter of the 13th century to be offered by Casa d’Arte Bruschi of Florence, and Piva of Milan will take a carved walnut console table with lacquered imitation marble top from the workshop of Andrea Fantoni (born Bergamo 1659).

Prior to the opening of the fair all works are examined by representatives of the Florence Expert Office and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. If everything is in order, the exhibitors are issued with a certificate of free circulation allowing export.

The organisers maintain this far-sighted measure is unique to the Florence fair and is a great boost to international business.

Admission to the Florence Biennale is €10.