Like many Italian companies, Fontanini is a family concern which began with the patriarch, Emanuele. He was at first an apprentice figurine-painter to another company but in 1908 started Fontanini as a small local business in a single room in the tiny Tuscan town of Bagni di Lucca. The company has always specialised in hand-crafted, hand-painted Italian nativity figures which have become Christmas symbols throughout Italy. Working with the most talented sculptors and painters of Tuscany, Fontanini figures today are still made by the fourth generation of the family who take pride in monitoring the production of their nativities, from the smallest of their nativity snow globes to the most elaborate indoor Fontanini set and their outdoor nativity displays.
Initially Fontanini figures were crafted in “papier mâché” but as more durable materials came onto the market they began making their nativity figures of a nearly indestructable and child-friendly polymer resin. The resin figurines are those usually seen in the American and European markets. The amazing attention to detail, lifelike sculpting and meticulous painting have made Fontanini figures an exceptional heirloom for families the world over.