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maiolica Italian pottery made by Deruta craftsmen
Ceramica Direct
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Italian Maiolica

The Source in Deruta, Umbria, Italy


Umbria is known as "the green heart of Italy": a mystical landscape of medieval hill towns famous for saints, olive groves, rolling plains of sunflowers and poppy-red wheat fields. For many hundreds of years, the raw materials for the potter's art have come from the wide banks of the Tiber and the nearby clay-rich hills. This ancient tradition has been kept alive from generation to generation in this land, as the passion for one of mankind's oldest forms of creation has passed from hand to hand, parents to children, each family building on a shared heritage of forms and patterns to produce ceramics both beautiful and useful, classical and contemporary.

Deruta is the primary source of our tableware, and the repository of a rich cultural tradition reflected in such famous and ever-popular patterns as Vecchia Deruta and Raffellesco. The forest-clad slopes above the town once provided abundant wood for the kilns which have been turning raw clay and minerals into vibrantly colored ceramics for over 700 years.

The master craftsmen and women here have developed their artistry over the entire range of production: from the refinement of the clay, through the molding of unique forms and most especially to the fine detailing of their drawing and painting in rich colors on the glazed terracotta. More than 200 workshops produce the ceramics which have long brought well-deserved fame to this small town. We think you'll agree we've found the very finest amongst them to create both the traditional and exclusive designs we offer to you.

If you can visit, be sure to see the collection of historical maiolica (majolica) at the Museo Regionale della Ceramica in a beautifully restored convent in the old town center, as well as the fascinating Madonna dei Bagni just south of the town, where a miraculous ceramic fragment led to the creation of a church with votive ceramic offerings representing over 300 years of local artistry.

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