Carving Out a Tradition in Stone

April 29, 2016 / Local Interest
Lecce, Puglia

One of the many unique features of Lecce is its dramatic architecture. Everywhere you look, you will gaze upon rich Baroque ornamentation.

Photo - Victoria De Maio

Referred to as the “Florence of the South,” Lecce is truly unique and cannot be compared to any place you have ever been. This is due to the distinctive nature of the very stone from which this celebration of Baroque evolved, Pietra Leccese.

Photo - Victoria De Maio

Wandering along the spacious pedestrian thoroughfares in Lecce’s historical town center, one can’t help but notice the rich ornamentation that defines Lecce’s architectural personality. Everywhere you look you are greeted facades of cathedrals, civic buildings, palazzi, and balconies elaborately adorned in Leccese Baroque.

Photo - Victoria De Maio

Mythical creatures, dancing angels, allegorical figures, garlands of ripe fruit and blossoming flora embellish exteriors and interiors resulting in an ambiance of celebration and festivity.

Photo - Victoria De Maio

Pietra Leccese belongs to the limestone family and is found and quarried primarily around Lecce. Since this area was once under the sea you will often find remnants of shells, bones and fossils preserved in the stone. Due to its soft and yielding nature, it lends itself to being elaborately chiseled and sculpted.

Photo - Victoria De Maio

Over time, Pietra Leccese changes with age and exposure to the elements. The original color, ranging from yellow to white may take on an amber or honey-colored hue. And, over time, the stone will strengthen and harden.

Puglia - Victoria De Maio
Photo - Victoria De Maio

Massimo Miglietta is a modern-day master artisan dedicated to practicing and preserving the traditional Salento craft of carving and sculpting Pietra Leccese.

Practicing 20 years, Massimo personally goes to the quarry to hand pick the exact piece for every sculpture.

Photo - Victoria De Maio
Photo - Victoria De Maio

Massimo proudly shares his impressive portfolio of detailed drawings and blueprints which are then turned into patterns and transferred onto the stone.

Photo - Victoria De Maio
Photo - Victoria De Maio

Influenced by the surroundings of the beautiful Salento area, and driven by love and passion for his home and craft,, this modest master carries on a rich legacy carved in Pietra Leccese.

Photo - Victoria De Maio

Victoria De Maio

by Victoria De Maio

Victoria is a lover of all things Italian! A travel advisor, blogger, writer, tour leader, and published author, she is passionate about traveling to and writing about Italy.

Her book, Victoria’s Travel Tipz Italian Style, is available on Amazon.

Join Victoria for her fabulous unique, boutique tours of Puglia,, and the Italian Riviera.

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8 Responses to “Carving Out a Tradition in Stone”

  1. Judy Bozza

    Thank you for the wonderful “note”. My heart fills with joy when I read about the present day master artisans who are preserving the art and history of Italy.

    Reply
  2. Joseph Spano
    Joseph Spano

    Another informative and interesting article highlighting the beauty and culture of Puglia ….thank you Vittoria

    Reply
  3. How wonderful to see a present day artist continuing the art of stone cutting from an historical perspective, much as was done during the Renaissance and we all know what then happened!! Thank you Victoria for alerting us to the beauty you found, you’ve done us a justice!!

    Reply
    • Victoria De Maio

      Gian,
      Grazie! I love seeing the “old” and the “new”, don’t you? It absolutely does put everything in historical perspective and gives us a richer appreciation of both…
      Thank you for your kind comments…
      V.

      Reply
  4. Ginny Siggia

    Stonework is so beautiful. It is a gift and a special kind of artistry. I treasure a photo I took in Bevagna (Umbria) of St Michael, the fiercely vigilant guardian of his church. The inscription reads, “Rodolfus Binellus fecerunt hec opera xps benedicat ilos senper et Michael custodiat,” or, “Rodolfo and Binello made this work, may Christ always be merciful to them and may San Michael always protect them.”

    Reply
    • Victoria De Maio

      Thank you, Ginny. I’ve seen St. Michael’s in Bevagna and many other churches and edifices and I’m always amazed and in awe. The commitment and talent is to be admired and preserved.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment….
      V.

      Reply

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