Terracotta exists in many qualities and forms. At Tuscan Imports, we offer only hand crafted Italian terra cotta which is, simply put, the best in the world. All of our terracotta is frost proof. We carry Italian terra cotta planters, vases, urns, statuary, and fountains from both the Impruneta and Siena areas. Italian terracotta planters from both Impruneta and Siena are exceptional products, exhibiting unique characteristics that have made them known and appreciated worldwide. Do not be deceived by cheap imitations. Many have attempted to duplicate the Italian styles, but the quality of Italian terra cotta only comes from Italy – and specifically the Tuscan region.
The world’s finest terracotta planters come from Impruneta, a small village nestled in the Tuscan hills a few kilometers from Florence, Italy. Blessed with land that is naturally rich in iron, copper, calcium, and aluminum, the town has been well known for its exceptional quality terracotta and craftsmanship for centuries. Hard gray earth, as pictured, is mined from the surrounding hills, ground to a powder, and mixed with water to make this coarse bodied clay. It develops its renown pale, terracotta color after the firing process and is able to withstand extreme temperatures. Our terracotta containers are backed by a lifetime guarantee against frost. Terracotta from Impruneta is frost resistant to -22°F. This, along with the hand of a skilled artisan makes the Impruneta collection the absolute best available.
The province of Siena is dotted with countless workshops because of its abundance of quality clay. Although not as high in iron as clay from Impruneta, clay from Siena is known throughout the world as quality terracotta, able to withstand temperatures to 10° Fahrenheit. A more refined clay, it is smoother in texture and great for Southern climates, indoor use, or in Northern climates if sheltered during times when temperatures drop below 10°.
The art of applying an antiqued finish to Siena clay is accomplished by only a few Italian workshops. While having the same qualities as traditional Siena clay, the Antiqued Siena collection gives the impression of being centuries old. Frost-proof to 10° Fahrenheit, this collection is perfect for Southern climates, indoor use, or in Northern climates if sheltered during colder months.
Galestro is a clay produced in blocks by a large manufacturing facility that began production in an attempt to imitate the properties of Impruneta clay. Many workshops, particularly in the Siena area, began using Galestro a couple of years ago because of the inferior qualities of their local clay and because of their inability to obtain clay from Impruneta. Recognizing the superiority of Imprunta clay over the Siena clay, these workshops have been forced to use the next best alternative. Typically, since the shops using this clay are from the Siena area, the styles produced are typically styles from that region.
Our experience with terracotta made from Galestro clay has not been good. We had some of this product in our inventory years ago and found it to be inferior to similar items made from Impruneta and Siena clay. We found that the Galestro terracotta eventually began to flake, chip, and even crack after a few seasons. Some retailers and manufacturers claim Galestro is as good as Impruneta clay. We do not agree with these claims and we cannot in good conscience recommend it. Because of this, we no long offer any terracotta made with Galestro Clay.