Hotel La Pineta, an establishment located close to the sea in the old fishing village of Acciaroli in the province of Salerno on Italy’s Cilento coast, has been renovated in accordance with the Vietri ceramic tradition through the use of floor and wall tiles from Ceramica Vietri Antico. With retro pickled wood furnishings and a romantic lighting design, the interiors project an old-fashioned image that helps create a relaxing space in keeping with the spirit of the place. Architect Ciro Forlenza described the concept behind the hotel remodelling project: «Our aim was to carry through a sophisticated project that would enhance the warm and welcoming Mediterranean atmosphere while also using contemporary elements; that would strive to create a comfortable and uniform space in terms of overall styling, use of colour and above all a choice of traditional materials that bring to life an ancient culture based on centuries of outstanding craftwork.» Thanks to the local presence of clay pits, glazed and tin-enamelled handmade pottery has been produced throughout entire Salerno area since mediaeval times. Maritime trade was assured by the ports in Salerno and Vietri. An explicit reference to this historical ceramic production activity in the Vietri area is found in the place name «a la greta» (from the Italian word «creta» for clay), which has been used since the first half of the thirteenth century for a ridge overlooking the river Bonea between Salerno and the sea. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, tile production was limited to individual artisan organisations. But in the second half of the nineteenth century, Vietri decorated ceramic floor tiles came to the attention of the markets and became popular for use in private building. During the 1920s and 1930s, a phase known as the «German period» saw the arrival of groups of Dutch and German artisans who helped to expand the range and broaden the market appeal of these products.
The refurbishment project for Hotel La Pineta consisted of several phases. The first step, which began in 2005, involved remodelling the old building referred to as the limonaia, or orangery, to create six double rooms plus a junior suite. The result fully met the client’s expectations and served as a blueprint for the subsequent operations.
The rooms were reorganised in terms of distribution and function so as to create comfortable and aesthetically attractive spaces. Pale colours were chosen for the walls to make for bright interiors reflecting the colours present in the Cilento landscape. By contrast, the ceilings and floors feature stronger colours. Each room is a world of its own with individually designed floor and wall decorations. The chosen Vietri Antico tiles come in various colours ranging from the white of «Bianco Schiuma di Mare» to the light blue of «Azzurro Oltremare» and the dark blue of «Blu Faraglioni». They display a softness and depth typical of vitrified surfaces from the ancient Vietri ceramic tradition based on a technique known as «mpetenate», a special manual procedure that involved introducing small piles of glass flakes during firing to make the tiles perfectly glossy over their entire surface.