Lo scalpellino Tullio Naldi al Lavoro
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The Stonecutter

Umberto Dondolini and his passion for sculpture

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Umberto Dondolini is a brick-layer by profession and a sculptor by choice. At last year’s Autumn Festival he exhibited his works, together with those by other local artists. He works carving Abbadenga stone to create vases and sculptured boulders, often depicting figures from the local Abbey or those that can be found in the ex-church of Sant’Angelo. He visits these holy places and then sculpts their works from memory. His sculptures are highly appreciated for their refined lines. Umberto Dondolini began to discover his craft when he was a child. At that time, men from the Monte Amata area worked for local mining companies, extracting stones used to build houses. He used to spy on the miners and seek out their tools once they had been put away. He would practice his craft in secret and then return the tools to their hiding place. ‘I am like Giotto who learned as he was shepherding sheep,’ he says proudly.

Dondolini’s passion for sculpture has given rise to a life-long journey as an artist. He seeks out stones for his works, sculpting them directly where he find them, hiding them during the sculpting process so that they will not be ‘stolen’ by locals. Once completed, he brings the pieces back to his warehouse for storage. At one time he collaborated with Mr. Coppi di Remedi, heir to the medieval ironsmiths of the Abbey—today Dondolini works alone. His latest work is a large garden sculpture. This complex Greek-inspired vase is nearly one meter high; he is working to carve tiny rivets in the stone—with the virtuous patience that local craftsmen always strive to possess.
(Source: Amiata’s Tourist Information Office)