The Moretti Pipes: A Unique Italian Brand
Where the Morettis worked (1890)
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
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 ownersŪ names: Beppe and
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
During his first years, and while continuing to make pipes for others,
Mr. Moretti started producing the first hand made pipes carrying
the name žMorettiÓ. 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 1,000 carefully hand made Moretti
pipes a year. These pipes are not sold to importers or tobacconists
but directly to pipe smokers. Marco spends most of the summer season
promoting and selling the pipes he has produced during the other three
seasons of the 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 born.
Very few pipe smokers outside Italy have heard of the Moretti pipes.
That is not because they are not first quality pipes; it is simply because
the second-generation maker of the Moretti pipe, Mr. Marco Biagini,
has always preferred to deal directly with pipe smokers (by mail order
or at pipe Italian shows), a great advantage according to him. This
way he can obtain invaluable feedback from his faithful clients who are
scattered around the world and come from all walks of life.
A Modern Moretti Pipe
Each Moretti pipe is meticulously made by hand using Calabrian
briar, seasoned for 10-15 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 2% 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 30 years of pipe making history and of professional, artistic
and financial satisfaction.