In the vicinity of Florence you can find the small town of Impruneta, infamous for its clay since ancient times. Initially the Etruscans used this clay to create vases and pots, as did later the Romans because of the conservation qualities of this clay they maintained the life their wine, oil and other products in these wares. This earth particularly rich in minerals like Quartz and Iron colloquially termed “Turkish earth” gave birth to the civilization of “cotto” (“cooked” referring to the cooked clay.) The beginning of the first shops in the middle ages gave birth to an artisan tradition that continues today distinguishing from manual free forms (Columbine or built by hand) to hand made forms, shells and industrial renditions. The success of Impruneta’s manufacturing is proven through the utilization in world-class structures like Brunelleschi’s cupola, the famous dome of Florence in which the roof tiles and bricks have been admired for almost 500 years.


From these four essential elements the labor process ignites, bringing life to the famous “Cotto” from Impruneta. First the precious earth is finely ground and mixed with water. After the clay mixing stage, the modeling begins which can be done in a number of ways: shelled forms to the most appreciated, which is worked by hand giving each piece the irregular characteristics that make it unique and inimitable. Unlike other areas, here in Impruneta, the hand made works are not thrown on a potter’s wheel but rather by an antique method, Columbine, where the artist works around his vase giving life through the spiraling action of stacking trucks of clay, called in craftsman jargon, “snakes”.

colombino lisciatura orci

The finished vase is ready for the delicate drying stage where the water evaporates, shrinking the piece at least (10%) ten percent. The drying time depends on the season and area where the drying takes place.

essiccazione essiccatura

Once dried, the object is ready for the firing stage where temperatures can rise in excess of one thousand (1000) degrees Celsius then be brought down to cool. At the end of this stage, which takes about seventy-five (75) hours, every piece is soaked with water to guarantee durability and an elevated resistance to frost and corrosive environments.

orci orcio e neve