Post by Italian Stories | from our book MANI
Amato Bontempo, master ceramist – Francavilla al Mare
ph Giuseppe Marino
Passion for pottery has accompanied the story of my family for four generations. This is certainly one of the oldest and better known traditions of craftsmanship in the world.
In every place in the world that this art is practiced, it has been able to renew itself and give itself some unique features. This is also true for the town we Bontempo come from, Rapino, where my great-grandfather founded our workshop in 1862, more or less when Italy itself was born.
At the time the artisans especially manufactured accessories for the kitchen and the table, decorating them, as we still do today, with the ancient “fioraccio” pattern. Beautiful wildflower bouquets bloom from a white background, from which you can guess the warm color of the terracotta. The flowers are made with a few resolute strokes of a sponge-brush, very different from the common bristle ones.
As a child, when I wandered curiously in my grandfather’s workshop, I had a special fondness for whistles, especially those in the shape of a rooster. They were toys that were made in his spare time. Back then ceramics were baked in wood-burning ovens, and you had to keep the fire burning all night. Consequently, it was necessary to stay awake, you couldn’t just fall asleep and leave the fire burning. So my grandfather told me that, to kill time, craftsmen made these whistles as a hobby, for the joy of us children.
The love for ceramics has never left me from those times, and thanks to my father Andrea I was able to attend the “Scuola d’arte di Faenza” (Faenza School of Art), expanding my knowledge and my experience.
Today I am the master potter of our shop, which in the meantime has moved to Francavilla al Mare, and I am proud to bring on and innovate, day after day, my father’s and grandfather’s artisanal know-how. My children and especially Melanie, my daughter in law, work in my company; as well as our trusted collaborators, thanks to whom I can even welcome visitors and enthusiasts.
I am happy to make this craft known to as many people as possible. A craft that is pure art and that requires − as well as very specific technical skills – artistic skills, passion, and imagination.
Read the story of Amato on our website, and book your experience.