The city of ceramics
A trip to Puglia is a particular experience.
In addition to the unique panoramas and the crystal clear sea, this region offers much more.
A very rare cultural heritage, made up of traditions and arts that have been handed down over time for generations.
We can find a great example of artistic ability and craftsmanship in a quiet town in the province of Taranto: Grottaglie.
In this beautiful village, with an amazing castle, the art of ceramics has been developed for many centuries.
An entire neighborhood dedicated to artisan shops, often carved into the rock or on the balconies overlooking the magnificent ancient part of the city.
The birth and development of ceramic in Grottaglie are due to the clayey nature of the soil on which it rests.
A story that began many centuries ago and which can be found in the Museo della Ceramica, an example of safeguarding tradition.
Initially, the ceramic produced had a real social purpose because it was indispensable for everyday life (for the storage of food, drinks etc): it was defined as Ceramica d’Uso and each family kept about fifty objects in the house made with ceramics.
When the modern culture started to become more influential, these artifacts have become objects of ornament for homes and gardens.
Very much appreciated.
The master of this type of production is certainly the lathe.
This ancient instrument (that was introduced many centuries ago by the Greeks) allows an artisan production that requires a lot of skill.
The first lathes were dug directly into the stone; then they started to build wood and electric lathes.
Lathe manufacturing is perhaps the most important artisan part in the creation process that leads from clay to ceramic, because it requires mastery that is acquired after many years of practice.
In past decades, the children who were destined for this profession were sent to the botteghe as very young and here they learned to get their hands on the clay and to tame the material in the long and complicated process of artistic creation.
The “tirata”, for example, is the practical act in which the object is shaped and the clay is pulled upwards.
During this act, the master must therefore combine strength and technique in order not to bring down the material.
The subsequent use of the iron “stick”, on the other hand, allows you to refine the shape.
The “toccata”, finally, sculpts the upper parts giving sinuosity and beauty to the artefact.
In addition to the shapes, the ceramic of Grottaglie is also famous for its colorful and almost perfect decorations.
There are demonstrations that date back to the Middle Ages but, perhaps, the greatest pictorial beauty dates back to the late 1600s, when a great Neapolitan influence due to the Kingdom of Naples began to be glimpsed.
From this moment the colors and decorations become more complex and stylistically appreciable.
Today Grottaglie is one of the main places on the Apulian map of the villages with greater tradition.
If you decide to visit it, get lost in its characteristic streets and stop in the various shops that you will meet along the way.
It will be a cultural experience that will introduce you to a small part of Puglia and its traditions.
To see the meaning of the image on the cover, click here: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bnvixl2HhNo/