“Fire that sweats” to make ceramics in Grottaglie
Grottaglie, in Apulia, is the birthplace of Giuseppe Battista (1610-1675), a poet noted for his ornate, erudite style – a feature of so-called “Marinist” poetry, named after its most famous exponent, Giovan Battista Marino. The linguistic hyperboles and complex rhetorical figures were meant to instill a sense of wonder in the reader.
Battista elaborated on the image of “fire that sweats”, an extreme metaphor that was popular in lyrics of his time. He coined a verse – “non sudò foco a fabricar mai spade” (“fire did not sweat to make swords”) – that is now considered a symbol of baroque virtuosity in poetry.
Although not to make swords, in Grottaglie fire “sweats” incessantly to make ceramics. In the beautiful town on the Ionian Sea, an entire neighborhood is dedicated to this traditional craft and there is an Istituto d’Arte specialized in preparing students who want to take up a career in the field.
Ceramics and wonder: an inspearable duo in Grottaglie.