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Tragni and Zuccotti

Tragni and Zuccotti were the ancient final containers of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar before being used to scent and fill with its grace modenese food and cure ailments.
They represent the main objects of our exhibition and, through the centuries, thanks to their worth, they became the symbol of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.
You can notice the different decorations and varieties. They depend on the age in which they were produced, on the kiln they come from and on the fantasy of the artist.
You will see noble and elegant “scratched type ceramics” from XVI-XVII, followed by containers that belong to later ages (XVIII-XIX) in which glazed and half glazed ceramics where the most in use.
In the ancient times kilns could be found in Modena, Castelvetro, Carpi, Sassuolo, San Possidonio. They all used to work to make these objects that time, vinegar acidity and the fragile human hand reduce to a little tiny number nowadays. So today they are the most precious and rare part of our local history.
Creating this big collection we actually built a real monument that these objects deserve. Every one of them has a different colour (iron yellow, copper green, manganese brown etc), shape, size and decoration depending also from the fantasy of the performer at that moment.
We have two different kinds of containers depending on the different use people made of them. Tragno is distinguished because of its 2 or 4 “hands”, in which a rope was passed through so that it could be moved from one place to another or hanged on the ceiling. This would protect vinegar from dangers and greedy kids.

Zuccotto differ from tragno because it is bottle shape and was used just like a bottle on the table and in the kitchen. Both were used to contain and preserve vinegar that was taken out from the small final barrels of the battery every winter.
Inside of them, since ceramics lets oxygen pass through its pores, vinegar could keep aging and become thicker and more scented. This doesn’t happen today when we bottle vinegar in glass bottles. You can understand all this just even looking at these objects that time and aging made them become noble masterpieces.

 



Glasses

At the same time in which the Venetians where blowing their most noble and precious glasses characterized by many different and rich colours, Modeneses, from dusty waters of Secchia and Panaro rivers, where blowing delicate glasses, light green in colour. That was the unique and typical green of modenese glasses from 1700.
Trying to imitate the Venetians, the ancient Modeneses cleaned the rivers’ waters, and blew glasses of different colours but of poor quality.
The disappointment was so deep that giving up their green glasses, famous and unique in the world, was impossible. Zucchette, bottles, round and flat, glasses, phials, and lamps, are typical and now very rare because of their fragility and very old age. You can admire them and see the light they shine in the darkness, still and dynamic at the same time, of our Acetaia.
The precious black gold was kept in these bottles by rich and noble people and was even taken as a gift to the most important royal palaces of Europe by Estense Dukes.
Emperor Ferdinand I from Austria, in the early 1800, knowing that Este Duke Francesco IV was about to go visit him at his court, in a letter recommended: “...and please don’t forget two bottles of that black pitch of yours”.