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Petroio Terracotta Museum

A simple material for an ancient art


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Where is


Via Valgelata, 10, 53020 Petroio SI, Italia (466m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

Petroio, a hamlet of the municipality of Trequanda, is home to a museum that illustrates the history and tradition of terracotta working. Set up as a chronological itinerary that starts from artisanal techniques to more recent industrial production, it allows everyone a complete immersion in this reality. The experience continues by walking through the winding streets of the village, an open-air museum on the countless uses of terracotta over the decades. There is also an educational workshop with a small kiln where children and even adults can have fun, guided by a local expert, creating their own terracotta object.

Why it is special

The connection there is between the village, its inhabitants and terracotta is something that even the most distracted traveler perceives. Basically, the museum illustrates the history of the village itself, because everyone here once worked with terracotta in the back of their homes, and baked the objects they made in one of the village's many kilns. Often the museum is opened by volunteers who were artisans themselves, or whose father had the potter's wheel in the basement, and they, kids, had to turn it at a certain speed and pace to make pitchers, vases, gutters, statues--you name it.

Not to be missed

Between May and June each year there is the Mostra Mercato della Terracotta, an opportunity to taste typical dishes and watch the Historical Procession and the Corrida del Contadino, a competition between the four town districts: men push a wheelbarrow carrying a piglet on top (and in fact vulgarly called the Corrida del Maiale). Clearly, one can admire and buy a lot of terracotta artifacts, more or less artistic, because this material also lends itself to more modern and contemporary designs.

A bit of history

Petroio is the hometown of Bartolomeo Garosi, a name unknown to most. He was a poor peasant who, converted after a life of unbelief, became a Prophet of God. They called him Brandano. This is the first half of the 1500s, and he was traveling all over Tuscany and Lazio, going as far as Rome to accuse Pope Leo X for his dissolute conduct. His were real prophecies: he made some about his beloved Siena, the Papacy, and the Sack of Rome. Brandano died in Siena during the siege of 1554 in the odor of sanctity, and even now he is called Blessed here.


In the museum's cellar there is a fantastic exhibit: the most beautiful towns and cities of the area reproduced in terracotta: Petroio, Castelmuzio, Pienza, Siena, Montepulciano and many others, made by Rodolfo Morviducci, known as Foffo, one of the last terracotta artisans, who unfortunately passed away a few years ago. His memory is still vivid in all the inhabitants, and many of his artifacts also decorate the narrow streets of the village; you can even see him at work in photos and explanatory videos inside the museum. One of his fun things was teaching in the workshop, talking to the younger generation, and making anyone who met him fall in love with Petroio.

Museo della Terracotta di PetroioThe lathe

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A small museum, often opened by volunteers who lived through that era, tells of when the whole village was a huge "natural trade center" for the production of earthenware, and today it is a museum itself.