From “Toscana lovers” your shopping spree becomes a treasure hunt full of surprises, and bargains that regard local handicraft objects.. Thanks to some precious bits of advice, to the courtesy and the competence which make us stand out, we will help you to discover the typical characters of the most famous Tuscan objects. The rest you will learn looking around along the streets of Siena and looking into our shop!
If you want to take home and keep in your heart an authentic piece of Tuscany get it directly from the hand of our artisans, something that is exclusive and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
CERAMICS (MAJOLICAWARE AND PORCELAIN)
Let’s begin with the majolica: the objects which recall the medieval tradition are mostly painted with green and brown geometrics, or mythological animals like winged dragons on a white background. There is also a rich production of Renaissance inspired product, coloured and designed with vaults, flowered branches, palms, angels and geometric designs. However the exclusive and typical design in Siena repeats the flooring of the Cathedral in its colours, white, black and dark red (nearly an orangey brown)
These objects are garden furnishings among the most appreciated by those who love luxury and by the interior designers of large villas: vases, flower pots, shelves … exceptional objects made in red earth with Renaissance style decors. The oldest and most famous production areas are Impruneta near Florence and Petroio in southern Siena.
HAND LOOMED MATERIALS
Greyhounds, harpies, vaults and red and black acanthus leaves on precious white material called “tela di Pienza”. This is a rustic material with small rhombuses, of medieval origin; in fact it is visible on the table of the Last Dinner painted by Duccio di Buoninsegna in the “Maestà”. Today this material is the preferred one for dressing solid wood antique furniture.
In Southern Siena, as well as producing traditional cotton materials- in Torrenieri- a group of women has started again to cultivate, spin and weave hemp, giving results of extraordinary refinement.
In Tuscany there are many leather artisans who make bags shoes and purses, gloves made completely by hand for demanding clients who want unique and rare pieces. By these artisans the leather is thrown, painted and decorated in gold until it is turned into objects similar to those used during the Renaissance.
The Tuscan artisans are renowned for their ability in reproducing objects and even works of art. More than one export in history of art – Bernard Berenson was the first – mistook these copies for originals.
Today the paintings “in stile” constitute a style of painting which is very fashionable and in Tuscany there are artists who can paint a Madonna on gold background that seems as though is comes from the 14th century, or a Renaissance mythological subject where, if you want, you can also be portrayed. Our maestros are able to create frescoes, large canvases painted with oils and also small and unusual objects such as the “barberi” which are marbles with all the colours and all the symbols of the Palio.
WROUGHT IRON OBJECTS
You can see the oldest and most important prototypes of Sienese wrought iron around the external chapel of the Town hall which dates back to the beginning of the 14th century. These have elegant designs which seem very delicate and the modern blacksmiths are able to copy practically identically. Tuscan blacksmiths create lampposts, studs, dishes, and even casseroles in iron, copper, brass and silver.
For centuries in Tuscany the carpenters have carve, they engrave, they and they gild frames, furniture and refined objects Many of them are also renovators of antique furniture because, besides their technical ability, they use materials and methods that are centuries old.
These professionals have antique traditions just like the sculptors and the carpenters, but they have not produced with continuity through the centuries. After the 14th century the production of glass works was abandoned for about seven hundred years and was reintroduced in Siena after the Second World War. Today the Sienese glass workers have an international reputation because they use the most advances technology and at the same time they are excellent designers.
The artistic book industry exists in Siena since 1480 when it was imported from some German printers and in the subsequent centuries continued with local workers. Today the Tuscan tradition is continued by artisans who print, print on zinc, and create reproductions and bindings in leather of particular value. Many of the most beautiful books produced in Toscana represent photographs.
From the end of the 13th century the Tuscan goldsmiths have a great international reputation. They invented the translucent enamel or rather the bas-relief in silver on which coloured glassy pasta is spread so that it becomes similar to a miniature.
In the Fifteenth century, in Siena like in Florence, the major artists are born in the goldsmiths shops: Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Donatello and Jacopo della Quercia.
Today in the Tuscan goldsmiths laboratories jewels in gold and silver are created with the craftsmanship and techniques of long ago: chisel, filigree, granulation, piercing, and fusion. All the jewels are unique pieces hand made and well confectioned. Some are fashionable with the eccentricity and modern colours; others reproduce those visible in famous paintings.
This was the name of the old pharmacists who in their laboratories produced hand made medicines with scales and mortars. Today they create creams and soaps for female beauty treatments using natural ingredients such as olive oil and herbs.