Tue, Oct 22nd, 2013 BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE CERAMIC SCHOOL IN CERTALDO, ITALY
La Meridiana would not exist without a host of important players, all of whom we appreciated!
Claudia is too big to fit under one title! She is our impressive hostess and woman of great knowledge and passion. She is the one that holds the warmth, love and business together with such gentle, brilliant ease. She runs the office and gets new programs under way, but she contributes so much more, words barely do her justice. Claudia has taught us of Etruscan history, wine tasting, and the story telling of Boccaccio just to name a few talents and when Claudia rings her wine glass to speak...EVERYONE listens!
The man responsible for it all....Pietro, is both talented and impressive. Pietro turned an old beat up Italian brick building into a beautiful and successful school over these last 30 years. An engineer, artist and builder, Pietro embodies a vision AND the skill to make it happen...no small feat for any human being, let alone an artist! He is a great potter, an impeccable technician and a consummate teacher. Pietro deserves great accolades for creating this incredible school in the 1980's and for bringing it onto the international stage more than 20 years ago. He managed to keep it running thru the difficulties after September 11th...and the more recent recession. Ever the visionary, Pietro is considering expanding the La Meridiana concept to offer summer workshops in Sardinia, teacher training workshops at this studio and painting workshops at a nearby villa here in Tuscany. On the creative side, he is tapping into his love of labyrinths and proposing building a huge one on the island of Sardinia. He is so passionate about the project, I believe he can make it happen and it will be a great success.
Without Lucia La Meridiana would be a different experience for sure! Chef extraordinaire, Lucia is careful to serve spectacular dishes each day, all hand made with deserts that are impossible to turn down. And for particular eating concerns, like my vegetarianism, she did extra work to make sure we were taken care of. Lucia's meals were among the best we ate in Tuscany.
Alessia is Claudia's assistant in the office, kind and gentle as she negotiates her English and our lack of Italian. Roman is a true jack of all trades who can fix anything, he is a man of few words among this exuberant group, who hails from Eastern Europe.
La Meridiana accepts 2 interns every few months and Kayla and Merreck were there to help us. Interns are always unsung heroes. They serve lunch, clear tables, help in the kitchen and clean the studio every night...no small feat in and of itself! These two warm and wonderful young women are an inspiration for their young maturity and a delight to be around. Thank you both for your help.
Oh...I can't forget the mascot and carnivore extraordinaire...CHARLIE!
What a crew...it takes a village, as they say, and La Meridiana has that special collection of dedicated, talented and passionate people to pull it off. What a gem in these humble hills of Certaldo, just 40 minutes north of Siena, 1 hour south of Florence, and 1 hour east of Pisa. San Gimignano's ancient towers are just on the horizon and the ancient city of Volterra, an important site of the early Etruscans, is a short drive deeper into the hills. Kudos to La Meridiana International School of Ceramics -- may you have many more successful years to come. Don't hesitate to sign up for a workshop soon - you won't regret it!