The fourth episode of "Travel to Italy" takes us to Tuscany, a region rich in nature, cities of art and with a great manufacturing heritage. Read the editorial by Cristina Morozzi to discover this land.
In a famous interview, Gio Ponti said that "the good Lord was good to Tuscany because He had given it the hills, the Apuan Alps, the river Arno. While he had given Milan nothing, so it was up to the architects to make it beautiful.
Tuscany has everything and more: an enviable geographic position, the sea and the mountains, hillside villages and cities of art. Among the others, it is enough to mention "Piazza dei Miracoli" in Pisa, where on a green lawn stand the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral and the Cemetery.
The manufacturing heritage of Tuscany is large, varied and known throughout the world.
Carrara is famous for the processing of white marble extracted from the quarries of the Apuan Alps. The alabaster is the rare and precious material processed in the area of Volterra, to which the city has dedicated a museum. The vineyards of Chianti and Maremma produce fine wines (famous are the Antinori and Frescobaldi wineries).
Ceramic is produced in Montelupo Fiorentino, where the designer Ettore Sottsass used to go to make his vases. Among the most important brands of the sector it is worth mentioning Bitossi, which continues to establish collaborations with renowned designers. The ceramics museum of Montelupo has recently dedicated the exhibition "Vaso Naso" to Matteo Cibic, one of the most eclectic designer of the new generation.
The area of Pontedera and Poggibonsi is the home of well-known furniture companies such as Ceccotti and Edra. In Prato, which is the birthplace of the inventor of the bill of exchange Francesco Datini, textiles are processed and the city is in fact known for the invention of regenerated fabric, made from rags. Unfortunately, it is also sadly known for various accidents at work, as reported by Mario Nesi in his Strega Prize winner book "Storia della mia gente".
Also from Prato come Cantuccini, the dry almond cookies ideal for accompanying a glass of another famous Tuscan specialty Vin Santo. On the subject of cookies, don't forget the “Ricciarelli Senesi”, produced by the Nannini family, and the typical Christmas dessert “Panforte”.
Florence is known for its "scagliola," a marble powder with which elaborate inlaid designs can be created (famous are those that decorate the tables on display at the Museo degli Argenti in Palazzo Pitti), and for the micromosaic workings used in costume jewelry. In Sesto Fiorentino the historical Richard Ginori (now acquired by Kering) has resumed the production of refined porcelain, also reissuing historical pieces created by its former art director Gio Ponti.
Arezzo is known for its goldsmiths while Colle Val d’Elsa for its crystal workmanship.
Straw working has very ancient origins and was already present in Tuscany in the 14th century. Signa is the center of the straw hat of Florence. In San Mauro di Signa, Carlo Begé still produces the classic "pagliette" and new designers are taking up the tradition by proposing contemporary collections, such as the florentine Michele Chiocciolini.
Finally, it should be remembered that prèt à porter was born in Florence in 1954 with the fashion show in the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti, promoted by Giovan Battista Giorgini. Also, the most important Italian men's fashion event is Pitti Uomo, managed by the leading Florentine company in the organization of fairs Pitti Immagine.
The annual event "Artigianato a Palazzo", promoted by Princess Giorgiana Corsini in the lemon greenhouses of the historic family palace, presents the wonders of Tuscan craftsmanship. We talked about it in our previous article here.