A trip to the Valdichiana Senese to learn about local craftsmanship and the golden hands of local artisans
In Torrita di Siena, the Laboratorio San Rocco has been dedicated to terracotta for over 60 years, thanks to the intuition of Vincenzo Goracci, the founder of this reality, who tells us about Veronica Pinsuti
In Liguria, in Rapallo, there is the Church of San Rocco that gives its name to the artisanal terracotta workshop that has been active in Torrita di Siena for over sixty years.
Where is the connection between this small Ligurian church and the Valdichiana Senese? In the figure of Vincenzo Goracci, resident in Torrita di Siena, who in the 1950s moved with his wife between Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino, and here began to devote himself to the business of making ceramics. But we all know a little, the heart commands not the heart, and in 1959 the couple returned to Torrita di Siena where they founded Laboratorio San Rocco.
Vincenzo was a forerunner of the times and cleared customs of the idea of handicraft work being done only by women: in Valdichiana in those days it was not very usual for men to engage in handicrafts. From the beginning of the business with him making all the pieces on the lathe and his wife who painted them, the real change came with the entry into the workshop of his son Marcello, who gave a boost to the business by including in the production the part of working with terracotta and the production of vases with more important dimensions.
In 64 years, the company has gone from making small objects to large vases and other furnishing elements. “The vase today is no longer just a container for flowers or plants,” says Veronica Pinsuti, an employee at Laboratorio San Rocco. “We have gone beyond the garden sector and entered the field of architecture and interior and exterior design. We are faithful to tradition and always hold to the idea of the vase as a container, but at the same time we have evolved in the concept of furniture.”
Veronica is a proud artisan who loves designing products and then making them, shaping the material: “For me, being an artisan is an achievement because creating with my hands makes me feel good, it is what I have always done and what I wanted to do when I grew up. I believe, and hope, that artisans will always be there because craftsmanship is in the DNA of the human being: since the dawn of time man has dedicated himself to this activity expressing his know-how and creativity.”
The spirit of Laboratorio San Rocco is to look to the present and the future while maintaining the tradition in the production processes and the quality of the terracotta used, also because it is these two aspects that make the difference. “Handmade in Italy” has, not surprisingly, its value recognized worldwide for the objective quality of the material used and the finished product.
Veronica of Laboratorio San Rocco is just one of the many artisans who make unique creations in the Valdichiana Senese. In the coming weeks we will tell the stories of the other expert masters of arts and crafts who open the doors of their workshops every day to create ceramics, musical instruments, jewelry and more. Follow us to find out about them all. And if you missed it check out our video, where you can see the artisans at work.
If you’re curious to meet Veronica and the other Valdichiana Senese artisans live, book the Valdichiana Living Artisans Tour. For a well-rounded experience, we’ve also thought of a 3-day stay to get to know the Valdichiana Senese, explore the artisan stores, and eat local products. Take a look here.