Do you dream about visiting Tuscany once in your life?
If you don't, you maybe have already been in this amazing Italian region!
Tuscany is popular all over the world for its green landscape and hills, its historical cities and villages, its good wine. Many lucky people from overseas decided to settle here, starting from some Hollywood stars to famous singers (Sting launched the trend, remember some years ago when he bought his villa in Figline Valdarno, in Florence countryside?).
Tuscany is also the homeland of a long artisan tradition and purchasing something original from Tuscany could be a nice way to keep alive your travel memories, or to bring something unique in your home from this wonderful corner of Italy. Some of the materials you have in your home, that you use daily, have also far roots in the Tuscany region, and you didn’t know this. Let’s discover more together!
Everybody knows terracotta, a kind of earthenware, and also an Italian term used for that brownish orange colour very popular at present. Did you know that the history of his material is deeply rooted in Tuscany, since the Middle Age?
Impruneta, near Florence, is a small area well know for its terracotta tradition and its long history in this field. During the Renaissance here started the production of terracotta potteries and vases, but also of bricks and tiles for architecture.
Terracotta was extremely popular in the Renaissance architecture and still an hallmark of Tuscany cities: just look up and you will notice the uniformity of roofs, which are all made of terracotta tiles.
Terracotta was also used as paving, thinking for example to Florence’s Piazza della Signoria that originally was paved with terracotta tiles (removed in the Eighteenth century and replaced with stone tiles). That’s why terracotta production developed so much in this region, and is still active today, but more in the potteries and artistic ceramics creation.
Montelupo is another area famous for the ceramic tradition, specialized in the production of enamelled ceramics.
Alabaster and Marble
Today the European centre for alabaster trade is in Tuscany, exactly in Volterra.
In the 3rd century BC alabaster was first used by the Etruscans to produce funeral urns, then the use of this materials disappeared till its revival in the mid-16th Century.
Recently alabaster has been rediscovered as a material also for design products, thanks to its unique translucent and light look.
The mineral is worked largely by means of underground galleries in Volterra area. Another typical material from Tuscany tradition is Carrara marble. This kind of marble, recognisable by its shining and grey veins, is probably one of the most popular marbles and as its name says is still produced in this unique area of Tuscany.
First extractions in this area date back to the First Century to became really popular during the Roman Age. Carrara is still today extracted within the marble quarries of the Apuan Alps, which are also a very unique landscape to be visited, suspended between the sea and the peaks of the mountain.
This marble is going through a huge comeback in the interior, architecture and design: widely used in kitchen and bathroom design, but also rediscovered and reused by several designers.
So, which one of these materials do you have in your own home?