Il Ferrone is a village in Chianti on one of the two popular routes from Florence to Greve in Chianti, and is a major centre of terracotta manufacturing in Italy. Indeed, Ferrone, as it is commonly known, is famous world-wide for a huge range of terracotta production, ranging from pots and art works that are later painted, through olive oil jars (orci) and garden plant pots and ornaments, to floor and roof tile and cladding production. The large deposits of clay around Ferrone lend themselves to the production of particularly durable terracotta which is, in addition, resistant to frost. Not surprisingly, terracotta has been used more or less universally for centuries in Chianti as floor and roof tiles, and for the production of olive oil jars. The gleaming floors of the palazzi of Florence are made of terracotta from Impruneta and Ferrone, as is the floor of the Laurentian Library (Biblioteca Laurenziana) in Florence.
Ferrone is home to both artisanal manufacturers of terracotta ware and industrial scale producers, mostly of tiles and, more recently, cladding. The employment of terracotta for the external facing of buildings has recently become popular again, a recent example being the new public library at Greve in Chianti. This latter is an exceptionally attractive design in a part of Tuscany where contemporary public architecture has often left much to be desired.
Recently a number of wine-makers have started to explore the ancient technique of making wine in terracotta jars (giare) with interesting results. The leaser in production of jars for this purpose is Terracotta Artenova, based in Impruneta and using the clay from Ferrone.
More about the terracotta of Impruneta.
More about Italian painted pottery.