From Italian Stories to Storie di chi, the story of a family tradition

Impruneta (Firenze) – “My name is Marco and I am an artisan of the terracotta. My father and my grandfather dedicated their lives to the furnace, and I’m happy to carry on the family tradition and see that even my daughter, Costanza, is attached to this place and to this profession.
Storiedichi_Masini_Terracotte_Italian_Stories_05Our family business began in 1934 and has reached its fourth generation. I always remember, with great nostalgia and affection, the stories of my grandfather, standing “watch” at the oven during the night.
Storiedichi_Masini_Terracotte_Italian_Stories_09At the time, the oven was a wood oven, and when it was lit you could not leave its side even for a minute. The rooms of the furnace were cold and had no windows; the work of a “fornacino” (a furnace worker), in an almost ethical sense, had to be a tough job, for brave men who could manage it.
Storiedichi_Masini_Terracotte_Italian_Stories_01Storiedichi_Masini_Terracotte_Italian_Stories_04My grandmother, on those nights, prepared the “peposo”: a poor man’s meat dish that is typical of the Impruneta area. It was precisely the “fornacini” who invented it: while the bricks baked in the furnace, they put a crock filled with wine marinated ingredients in a corner of the oven to warm up.

The dish was ready to be served five hours later, helping the artisans to regain strength. We don’t make bricks in our furnace any longer, but mostly vases and terracotta items for the garden.

Each piece is unique and, to those who come to visit us, we always like to reveal why. Our products are born from the bare earth of Impruneta, known worldwide for its unique reddish color.
Storiedichi_Masini_Terracotte_Italian_StoriesWe develop this craft every day, respecting the tradition and ancient techniques that we inherited from my father and great-grandfather. We feel we have a responsibility towards our past and the earth that we touch and shape with our hands; a responsibility that we like to share with those who, like us, love the world of artisanal craftsmanship.

The beauty of our country seen through the eyes of Italian craftsmen

The publication of this story by Marco Masini is the result of our partnership with Italian Stories , the first marketplace for cultural tourism and craft experiences in Italy.

By clicking here you can book your workshop in Marco‘s kiln.

The article you have just read is taken from the book “MANI – the heart of Italian craftsmanship“, published by Italian Stories in December 2016;  photography by Annalisa Lever.

To get a copy of the book, and experience the beauty of an extraordinary journey through the stories of Italian craftsmen, you can write to