Salts Pavilion

Montecatini Terme

Il Padiglione sali Tamerici, fregio. Credits: Comune di Montecatini Terme

The Salts Pavilion was constructed in 1903 to be used for the sale of the famous salts extracted from the Tamerici thermal spring. The project of the building is by Giulio Bernardini who drew inspiration from the shops of the German resort town BadKissingen.    

On the facade of this one-story building were placed four gres panels created by Chini’s factory Arte della Ceramica, originally made to decorate his own pavilion at the International Decorative Arts Fair in Turin in 1902. They are bas-reliefs by Domenico Trentacoste, a sculptor from Palermo who was active in Florence.  The bas-reliefs portray four male figures representing a ceramist’s activity, in the last panel Trentacoste portrays Galileo listening to the Muses while 

“… with admirable constancy, with deep feeling of art and with clear conscience of the duties imposed by the past and the future, directs the flourishing industry”.

It was Galileo Chini who wanted to present the bas-reliefs in Turin desiring “…to show for the first time in Italy stoneware as a material suitable for wall decoration and art pottery as already adopted abroad”.

At the time it was built the Salts Pavilion hosted three shops, one of which served, as already mentioned, to sell the salts and waters of the Tamerici Spa. A second shop sold various souvenir objects, and a third shop sold ceramic objects produced by Arte della Ceramica. Galileo Chini also did the exterior and interior decorations of this building. Unfortunately, those of the interiors are now lost, there were mythological marine creatures emerging from large waves; while on the exterior facade below the eaves he painted cherubs and plant essences, today still in good condition.

The advertisement on the side of the building towards the Teatro Verdi entrance which reads “I SALI PURGATIVI DELLE TAMERICI VINCONO I SALI STRANIERI” is not attributed to the artist.

Il Padiglione sali Tamerici, fregio. Credits: Comune di Montecatini Terme

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