Impruneta Terracotta Origins

Impruneta has always been distinguished for the production of terracotta since ancient times: techniques and methods have been often handed down from one generation to another giving place to a “cotto culture”.

The Origins

From the XIV century all the furnace’s workshops of Impruneta gather in a dynamic community able to become famous all over the world for quality and prestige of their products.

Archaeological researches still can’t precisely date the starting of human settlements during ancient times in this area, but the series of Etruscan and Roman finds discovered prove how in those times the population had already a good organization and technical knowledge of cotto production.
Only by the begining of the XII sec there is an increasing production of cotto Imprunetino due to an economical renascences and a population growth


The Middle Age

Mediaeval furnaces began with the purpose of producing tiles for new construction sites and were built in their vicinity.

Once the production of cotto started to be more organized and stable several of new furnaces were build in the Impruneta area. The profusion of furnaces brought the 23rd March 1308 to a deed emanation in order to manage and legitimate the quality of Cotto Imprunetino.
Before that all the artisans who made Orci ( large jars for oil or other liquids) Mezzine (smaller jars for water) and sellers of artisan’s artworks were registered under the Medical and Drugs Order, under Spice and Oil Order or under the Hostess Order.

The statute of 1308

In 1308 Ghettino di Ventura di Sant’Ilario a Potigliolo was elected as mayor of the cotto artisans.
He brought a statute, meant to manage and legitimate the quantity and quality of cotto produced, to be ratified by the district of Florence, under which Impruneta was subject to political and judicial control.
Even though the statute has never been ratified, the Order of kilnsmen were legitimate and a massive production kept increasing in time giving place to a new large trade with Florence.

Trade between Impruneta and Florence

Impruneta’s Cotto has been used in Florence for the most important convents as Santo SpiritoSantissima AnnunziataSanta Trinita; for hospitals as Santa Maria Nuova and degli Innocenti.
The masterpiece of Impruneta kilnsmen is the dome of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore by Filippo Brunelleschi entirely covered with cotto tiles.

Legend says the Architect Filippo Brunelleschi went to Impruneta kilns to personally check that the tiles were perfect, without defects or imperfections.


From ‘600 to now

Since then the production of cotto began to open itself to different branches.
Specially in XVII-XVIII century they started to create artworks to adorn gardens and private residences of Florence with fountains, sculptures, vases, little angels and benches.
Our days cotto has practical and aesthetic purposes that make this product limitless through time and space.