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DESCRIZIONE

The history of the small museum of brickmakers is closely linked to the manufacture of bricks and the furnaces that were based in the hamlet of La Rotta near Pontedera. Bricks have been produced here since the eleventh century, thanks to a favorable position that made it possible to exploit the clay deposits of the Arno and Era rivers.

In the 19th century the presence of 14 kilns along the Arno is attested, quite small establishments with wood-fired ovens. However, the production of bricks and tiles had a seasonal character: in spring, the town was depopulated because kilnsmen and brickmakers moved to Piedmont and Lombardy, working in inhuman conditions for up to sixteen hours a day. The first Hoffmann continuous fire furnace was installed in 1872.

Inside the museum there is also a stone of bricks signed by local children, in memory of when the workers wrote on the tiles for fun or to keep count of the pieces produced. For over a century, in September, the Fair of Whistles and Bells has been held in memory of the bricklayers who, during their breaks, used the scraps of clay to make whistles and bells for the children.