The Coccapani Furnace
The ceramic production in Calcinaia territory started at the end of 17th century and had a wide distribution even beyond Tuscany boundary.
In 1696 the Carthusian monks of Calci, who owned a farm in Montecchio (a place near Calcinaia), established a ceramic manufacture and started producing vases in addition to their production of lime and bricks.
Nowadays that ancient furnace doesn’t remain any more, but thanks to archives documents we are well-informed about its location, management and production.
The furnace in Montecchio was working until 1768. At the time the workshop was managed by Master Giovanni Battista Franci, a potter from Siena, skilled in crockery production in imitation of porcelain („the majolica of Montecchio“) who, in the meanwhile, began to produce a common earthenware („dishes for lower classes„).
Later Marco di Giovanni Coccapani, a potter from Modena who worked in Montecalvoli, a place near Montecchio, joined the ceramic workshop.
As the Coccapani family became the only workshop manager, they had to move to Calcinaia because of the continuous disagreements with the Carthusian monks.
In the last decades of 18th century, the business was established inside the building owned by Coccapani family, situated next to the corner tower of the medieval castle (“alla fornace” tower), that still hosts the furnaces and the workshop environments.
There, the potters kept on their activity becoming skilled in common ceramic production.
That furnace was very important for Calcinaia economy as it was the only ceramic workshop and the only manufacturing activity in the town at the beginning of 19th century.
The Coccapani family handled directly the workshop until the last heir Rosa Coccapani donated it to the Opera Cardinale Maffi which entrusted the management to Rovini family until the sixties of 20th century.