“What a Neat Pipe!!”— with this feedback from an American friend who had just received a pipe from Italy, the name “Neatpipes” was born.
The first, rudimentary version of Neatpipes.com went on-line June 18th, 2002,offering a beautiful collection of estate Dunhill and Castello pipes.
I’m Luca di Piazza, the one who is behind “Neatpipes.” I first approached the pipe world in the year 2000, thanks to the late Franco Bolognesi. Franco was a big Milanese collector and lover of Dunhill, Castello and S. Bang pipes. Franco was also my mentor, who with great patience and affability revealed to me most of Dunhill’s secrets, opening my mind and eyes to discover and appreciate the aesthetic that each pipe hid inside.
At the outset I decided to focus on Italian pipes, offering them to collectors and smokers from all around the world. My passion for these incredible and beautiful objects has only grown from with the passing days, thanks to strong relations built with pipemakers like Radice, Paolo Becker, Maurizio Tombari and Tonino Jacono—who are now not merely good partners, but good friends.
In 2004 I attended the Chicagoland Pipe Show for the first time, not really knowing what to expect. But I found my intuitions were correct, and I’ve never missed a Chicago show since then. I’ve also attended other shows, from Richmond and New York to St. Louis, Las Vegas, and even St. Petersburg and Shanghai!
My sale of pipes through the Neatpipes website goes hand-in-hand with continual research on shapes. Years ago I made did an intense study of Castello’s work, at a time when I was very close to Franco Coppo and his workshop in Cantù. In 2006, working with Radice I developed the popular Chubby Billiard.
Generally speaking, I try to build a strong relationship with each pipemaker I work with, creating interesting and new pipes to offer to Neatpipes’ friends and enthusiasts.
I personally select each pipe that found at Neatpipes.com, most of the time while visiting the actual workshops where they are made. If you are visiting Neatpipes and make a selection, you can be assured that besides a beautiful pipe, you will receive in addition insight into the hidden side of the pipe—why it was made the way it was. I believe this extra benefit will enrich your smoking experience.
My sister Roberta joined me at Neatpipes early in 2012, and takes care of most of the technical side of things, making sure that each pipe is offered on the website in the most perfect way possible.
Neatpipes.com is not only an online web store, it is a virtual place where you can constantly obtain new information. But while the website is the best way to reach the widest audience, is not the only way that I offer an approach to the Neatpipes world.
Beginning September 2012, you can meet me at the new Neatpipes Studio in Milan. Finding the right place to settle has been an intensive process, but after a great deal of research, a unique location was found at the Fornace Curti, close to the Naviglio on Ludovico il Moro Street.
The impression that you have when crossing the threshold of the Fornace Curti is to step back into the past, into the narrow paved streets and courtyards of the old Milan. The Fornace Curti (Fornace is Italian for “brick-kiln”) is a site dating to the late 17th century and currently hosts a wide variety of painters, photographers, sculptors and designer’s workshops.
Such a place, saturated in creativity and a deep love of art, seemed exactly right for Neatpipes to put down its roots. I want Neatpipes Studio to be a place to exchange different point of views, a place open to discussion, as well as a showroom where you can see each pipe offered on the website and many more. I look forward to see you here, to share a relaxed moment and help you to find an aspect of the pipe smoking that perhaps you’ve not even imagined yet.