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(CBS) — He’s a self-taught craftsman who has mastered the art of recreating buildings in miniature.

For 30 years, Victor Grigolo worked as a heavy machine operator for the city of Chicago. But he had to retire at age 57 because of a heart condition.

What to do then? He built birdhouses, but there was no challenge in that.

One of his first miniature buildings was a model of Napoleon’s home in Italy.

Not having a picture of it, he duplicated the structure from memory. From that beginning he has created 16 models.

A number of these are inspired by pictures; others are the products of his imagination. Grigolo once sang operatic music when he was younger. These days, he doesn’t sing anymore, even when he works on his miniatures.

He’s not interested in selling his works, which take six months each to complete.

“To me, they are priceless,” he says.

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