Impruneta Terracotta

History

Impruneta clay is thought to have been used since the eleventh century to make construction materials due to its strength and resistance against the elements.

In the fourteenth century, Filippo Brunelleschi used over four million bricks and roof tiles made from Impruneta clay to build the dome of the Cathedral of Florence. The tremendous wealth and ingenuity found in Florence during this time cultivated cultural and aesthetic transformations in many sectors of society and ordinary life.

Impruneta pots, jars, and statuary were used to decorate courtyards and gardens, embossed with designs harking back to Ancient Greece and Rome. Due to the high status of this clay, only a few artisans are licensed by the Italian government to stamp “Impruneta” next to their name on their wares.

Company name Archeo stamped into wet clay of pot with the stamp face visible

How our pots are made

Impruneta Terracotta pots are made from a unique clay found only around the village of Impruneta by the river Arno near Florence. The clay is extremely stony which, when fired, creates a honeycomb structure that allows water to expand and then escape during the Winter. The strength of these pots comes from the high iron content present in the clay, which infuses this honeycomb structure with strength.

It is this combination of structure and support which allow these pots to survive for centuries, even in colder climates. Much of Impruneta Terracotta is sold directly to the Alpine communities and is guaranteed to survive at temperatures down to -38°C.

An Italian artisan crafting the rim of a pot

The clay is hand-moulded into plaster cases. Moulding by hand exerts far less pressure on the clay than machine moulding. This keeps the air holes of the honeycomb structure intact which results in much more protection against frost. This process also allows any pattern to be built directly into the pot, which results in a stronger overall structure in contrast to those pots where the patterns are added on afterwards.

Once the pot is removed from its mould, it is placed to dry for up to four weeks in a special drying chamber. It is important that the pot dries as uniformly as possible to avoid distortion and cracks. When the pot is dry it is ready to be fired. All our pots are fired very slowly at over 1000°C.

All of our Impruneta pots are guaranteed against frost, sun or sea-air corrosion for twenty years as long as water drainage is maintained.

An Italian artisan crafting the rim of a pot