Wed, Oct 16th, 2013 It has been a cool autumn in Certaldo. It seems to rain each night, but the sun shines brightly during the day. These 17th century farmhouses hold the chill so our morning and afternoon espresso breaks are a welcome relief from the studio work day and the chill.
Perhaps one of the best daily highlights is Claudia's stories about Certaldo's famous writer, Boccaccio. Claudia's sweet face brightens as she tells one tale from the hundred famous Tuscan stories.
Apparently Boccaccio was the first writer, back in the 1300's to write stories about the regular working people. A predecessor to Shakespeare, his stories are funny and sexy. Claudia does a wonderful job each day of re-telling the tales at espresso hour.
We have been working hard, sometimes 10 hours in the studio. Two kilns are filled with work and now we are in our days off. The quiet hill towns of Tuscany are our focus this weekend. Siena, Volterra and San Gimignano.
Saturday it was the beautiful hill town of Siena...the long time rival to Florence. In one day, Sunday, we visit the hill-towns of Volterra and San Gimignano.
Wow! What a delight. First Volterra. A beautiful small town one of the 12 town seeds of the incredibly creative culture of the Etruscans. A people focused on art and culture, though they were very sophisticated, they could not overcome the strength and determination of the Roman Empire and ultimately dominated by them. One of the amazing legacies the Etruscans left to the world was the ARCH...an archetypical contribution to all of architecture and art...from the arches of temples to the arches of kilns.
These creative people left their legacy in Volterra, a small hill town filled with artistry and artisans. Perhaps this is my most favorite place I have visited while on my travels. From the Etruscan museum of ceramics to the progressive prison where inmates perform art shows once a year...Volterra impressed me all day.
Next was San Gimignano, the hill town just east of Volterra and known for the oldest towers in the secular Italian landscape. The streets were filled with local artisan shops, tourist traps and beautiful views. The Duomo had amazing frescos of the 7 deadly sins painted across their ceiling... And sculptors and painters abound!
All in all, it was a wonderful day full of culture, history and art in Tuscany! Thank you Claudia, for your informative explanation of the time and place in which this had all taken place.