Vincenzo Pinto was born in Vietri sul Mare on 6 April 1870 and probably knew little of his predecessors – Flavio, Francesco, Liborio, and Pasquale – the Vetri ceramic producers of the seventeenth century.
All Vincenzo knew that he had to become independent as soon as possible. And so, he plunged into his various business activities. The most successful was the ceramics production and, after starting a brick factory, he also rents an old factory from the early 1800, located on the ground floor of Palazzo Pizzicara, in the heart of Vietri sul Mare.
In the past, this factory used to be run by the brothers Michele and Gaetano Sperandeo, who, together with Tajani and Punzi, are the historical names of the Vietri ceramic production.
31 January 1910
Vincenzo Pinto successfully leads the new production plant and shortly after, on 31 January 1910, purchases from Giuseppe Pizzicara “…the entire tenement with a garden… in Vietri sul Mare… composed of a noble apartment… and a local pottery factory…” (extract from the archives of Notary Leonardo Gargano).
It has been renamed to Palazzo Pinto, on Corso Umberto I, and today Rosaura Pinto, a granddaughter of Vincenzo, lives and continues to run the famous ceramic factory from the same historic address.
In the 1920s
In the 1920s the company has strongly branched out into export, as well as expanded the range to include artistic ceramic furnishings, including some of the most famous figures of its so-called “German period”. First Barbara Margarete (“Bab”) Thewalt-Hannasch and then Irene Kowaliska have been welcome guests at the house of “Don Vincenzino Pinto”.
In the early 30s
In the early 30s, Vincenzo Pinto has invited Prof. Renato Rossi to run the facory – a known figure in the industry and the founder of Salerno School of Ceramics.
Vincenzo Pinto has passed away on 13 February 1939, leaving the factory in the hands of his wife, Ida Palmenta, and his young sons Raffaele, Giovanni and Bonaventura. The following years have proven a difficult period. Raffaele, just 20 years old at the time, took the reigns of the family business and managed to keep it running and see it safely through the war. After the war, his future wife, a Dutchwoman Elizabeth (“Betty”) Josephine Laming visits Italy for a short holiday, only to return to her home-town of Scheveningen and inform her family of her decision to marry Rafaele and settle down with him in Vietri.
In the early 50s
In the early 50s, Raffaele Pinto entrusted the artistic direction of the company to the Hungarian sculptor Amerigo Tot. Here, Tot began working on the first sketches that in the future were to become the famous bas-relief decorating the façade of Termini Station in Rome.
Another fruitful collaboration of the same period was with Giuseppe Capogrossi, a leading member of the so-called “Roman School”. The outcome: five decorative modules for tiles that today are a precious part of the company’s historical archives.
The early 60s
In 1959, due to production needs, Raffaele Pinto decides to replace the fascinating but now outdated and uneconomic wood furnaces with a diesel powered tunnel kiln. It’s the first industrial oven introduced at one of Vietri’s historic “faenzere” ceramic manufacturies.
Supported by his wife Betty, in the early 60s he decided not to move the manufacture to one of the emerging industrial areas of the province but to expand the factory in Vietri sul Mare, with the construction of two new buildings to the south of the original tenement.
Completed these innovations, Ceramica Pinto is ready for the 1960s boom. The factory has increased its production volumes but managed to keep unchanged the artisan quality of its tiles, able to meet and maintain the growing demand of the housing market. This period also sees further successful collaborations, such as the one with Count Stefano Rivetti, a definitive figure for the tourist development of Maratea, as well as with the architect Michele Busiri Vici, who has coined the “Mediterranean architecture” style and created some of the most beautiful villas around Circeo.
In January of 1960, Ceramica Pinto is visited by Giovannino Carrano, one of the most important 20th century artists of Vietri who in 1977 plans and realizes the manganese-based panel covering the main façade of Palazzo Pinto.
1980 a today
In 1980, Raffaele Pinto contributes to the establishment of the Ceramics Museum, located in Villa Guariglia, Raito di Vietri sul Mare, donating numerous pieces from the family collection.
Raffaele Pinto has left this world on 5 December 2003, definitively handing over to Rosaura the family business and the factory that continues to bustle in the center of Vietri sul Mare.
La Ceramica Pinto è un’Impresa ultracentenaria della Regione Campania (L.R. n.11/2014)
ASSOCIAZIONE AZIENDE STORICHE FAMILIARI CAMPANE
BIBLIOGRAFIA ESSENZIALE G. Donatone, “La Ceramica di Vietri dalle origini all’800”, CO.BE.CAM, 1991 A. Tesauro, “Maestri creatari e faenzari a Vietri tra cinquecento e seicento” – Pietro Laveglia Editore, 1991 M. A. Iannelli, A. Tesauro, S. Milano, ”La faenzera nelle terme romane a Vietri : il ritrovamento alla Bagnara e la produzione ceramica vietrese del sec. XIX” – Edizioni Menabò, 1994 Amministrazione Provinciale di Salerno, “Il Museo della Ceramica – Raito di Vietri sul Mare “ – Edizioni 10/17, 1994 A. Tesauro, “Le faenzere di Vietri nel Settecento: un significativo ruolo nella produzione ceramica nel Regno di Napoli” – Centro Sudi Salernitani “Raffaele Guariglia”, 2004 V. Pinto, “Giovannino, ceramista vietrese”, De Luca Editore, 1997.
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