Pipes Perfectly Executed, Part 2

Claudio was a farmer for most of his adult life. He had also been the world slow-smoking champion for years, and held the world record for many years (as documented by the Guinness Book of Records). Claudio made his first pipe in 1974 because he'd already waited more than a year for a Caminetto pipe that he'd ordered. For some years, he made pipes for himself and friends. Some years later, as he became prominent in European and world slow smoking competitions, he began giving serious consideration to the internal dynamics of pipes, rejecting the traditional Italian model and creating something that, at the time, was quite new, especially in Italy. He continued this way for some years, slowly making more pipes and farming less, until he ceased to be a farmer at all (except for some very well tended vegetables) and became a full time pipe maker.

Before we sat down for lunch, we looked over perhaps 100 Cavicchi pipes, selecting about half that have since arrived in Little River. We could quite easily have selected them all--each was excellent--but we had just received a shipment of 50 pipes at the office, and adding another 100 to that seemed excessive. So, painful decision followed painful decision as we wittled down the selection to something more manageable. Plus, upon our arrival, he had already fallen far below what Claudio considered his prudent reserve of pipes, and as Gianfranco joked about what would happen if Cladio ever, gasp, ran out of pipes, we thought it better to not put such strain on Claudio...

Exploring Claudio's home and garden, it becomes quite apparent that this is quiet man is exacting in all he does. His vegetable garden is perfectly tended. His yard is verdant, model ships he built as a young man are displayed in his dining room. Everything about his life is exact and methodical, diligently nurtured. Daniela, Claudio's wife, exhibits many of the same attributes. She works as a quality control specialist for a food packaging company and the lunch she prepared for all of us was divine, beginning with homemade tagliatelle alla ragu (bolognese; we are just a few kilometers from Bologna, after all), continuing onto a regional pork dish, the most extraordinary fried potatoes that I have ever tasted, and finishing with some of the finest cantelope that I have ever experienced. Clearly, Claudio's talents in the workshop are only exceeded by those of his wife in the kitchen.

Lunch conversation ran from pipes to the regional differences among various prosciutti and the general reverence with which everyone at the table holds the pig, to Claudio's magnificent vegetable garden (about which Claudio, in his matter of fact manner, says, "well, I'm a farmer"). Open and hospitable, the opportunity for me to finally get to know Claudio and Daniela was priceless. The impressions about the man that I gleaned from seeing a few hundred of his pipes were partially confirmed. He is as exacting and methodical as I had supposed, yet also possessing a gentle kindness, a self-comfort, a quiet modesty, that earned my respect as much for the man as for his pipes.

Sykes Wilford & Claudio Cavicchi
Claudio Cavicchi in his garden
Claudio and Daniela


    • Beellzzabass on October 16, 2017
    • A Wonderful & informative piece on a side of pipemakers that, depending on your level of interest, is rarely brought up or discussed, & really makes you take a more enlightened second look at these functional works of art., Thank you for this piece..,

    • Adam O'Neill on October 16, 2017
    • @Beellzzabass Thanks for taking the time to read it. We're glad we could shed some light.

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