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Home Decor > Tuscan Decorating & Design Center > Tuscan Element Wood

The Tuscan Decorating Style:

Understanding the Tuscan Earth Element 

 

"I want to decorate my home in the Tuscan style. 
How do I decorate with the earth element for an authentic look?"

Of the basic Tuscan elements, earth is perhaps the most dominant and apparent in Tuscan society.  Indeed, the rich Tuscan clay has been incorporated in some way into every building across the region.  From  the characteristic terracotta rooftops down to the floor, Tuscany is thoroughly infused with the element of earth.    

Terracotta- meaning earth (terra) that is fired or baked (cotta), has been used for centuries in Tuscany, dating back to the Etruscans who used the clay for pottery and building. 

Some examples of their artistic work are still available for viewing, and have been used by artisans for centuries as inspiration. 

The heart of the ancient Italian pottery industry was in a town near Florence.  Remarkably, the terracotta ovens and kilns have been in production almost continuously since the times of the Etruscans.  Considered by many to be the finest terracotta in Tuscany, the skilled artisans reproduce many of the ancient designs out of a unique clay rich in limestone.  The fired clay is extremely durable and resistant to the elements. 

This durability, economical cost, and ease of transport made clay tiles and bricks an attractive building material for ancient Tuscans.  Entire cities, such as Siena, are comprised mainly of brick, as well as numerous casa colonica (Italian farmhouses) dotting the rolling countryside. Check out Ancient Tuscan Brick Farmhouse, to see a Florentine home constructed of brick and terracotta.

1br - Le Torri vacation home rentals Tuscany Florence
A 13th century Tuscan farmhouse features ancient brick walls and terracotta clay roof tiles.  Click on picture for rental details.
 

How is the earth element used in modern Tuscan design and decorating?


Terracotta has played an important role especially in the Tuscan kitchen, where olive oil and wine have been stored in clay vessels for centuries.  The terracotta protects the olive oil from heat and light, which reduces spoilage. 

Made from the same clay as terracotta, another main staple of most Tuscan kitchens is the beautiful tin glazed and hand painted ceramics known as majolica.  Commonly decorated in brilliant blues, greens, yellows, and oranges these lovely pieces are beautifully and practically used for storage, on the table as dinnerware, and as decorative art.  To see more Italian ceramics, click here.

Since the about the fifteenth century, Tuscany has been producing a wide variety of majolica items, from beautiful and utilitarian plates to floor tiles.  Although majolica was once exclusive and expensive to own, it is now commonplace to find this beloved folk art in and around the homes of Tuscany.

Because of the superior durability of the Tuscan terracotta, the decorative clay pots, window boxes, statues and orcio (pitchers) are a favorite in Tuscan gardens.  Filled with a wide variety of brightly colored flowers, the decorative containers are found across the countryside adorning windowsills, courtyards, and loggias, and bring a welcome splash of outdoor cheer to virtually any space. 

Perfectly infused in the Tuscan lifestyle, the ever-present element of earth is testimony to the centuries old love affair between the people of Tuscany, and their environment. 

For more information on Tuscan decorating and employing the Tuscan design style in your home, please visit the Tuscan Decorating Center.  Be sure to bookmark the Tuscan Design Center, and check back regularly for updates.  We are always adding valuable tips and advice for decorating your home in Tuscan style.


This large terracotta urn, now being used in a country garden in Rome, was once used to store olive oil. 
Now a main staple of any Italian kitchen, this hand crafted majolica biscotti jar from Italy is crafted in the centuries old tradition.


A Tuscan stone bench features classic Geraniums in vividly colored terracotta pots. 
 

Tuscan Earth Accessories:

Tuscan Pottery -
Hand painted Italian ceramics to suit your style. 

Weathered Terracotta Fluted Planter  -  Bring Italian style & beauty to your garden / outdoor living space.

Where Can I learn more about decorating in the Style of Tuscany?


For more information on Tuscan decorating,  we carry many helpful Tuscan decorating books in our book department, including the book Tuscan Elements, by Alexandra Black.  Here are some other titles you might be interested in as well:

 

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More Tuscan decorating design tips:

Tuscan kitchen decorating

How to hang a pot rack

Elements of the Tuscan Decorating Style

Tuscan Decorating Home

Shop for Tuscan Decor


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Decorating in the Tuscan style

can be fun & easy!

The Tuscan Design Center

 "Designer-In-You" Home Decor System

will show you how.