Agriturismo in Umbria


Deruta majolica

The word pair “Deruta majolica”, like that of “Deruta pottery”, is surely indissoluble and characteristic for this small village. The first pieces of Deruta majolica and pottery were produced during the Middle Ages.

Deruta pottery, even though official documents show that pottery and majolica have been produced in Deruta since the 13th century, may very well have originated at least a century earlier. In any case, by the end of the 13th century Deruta had produced pottery and majolica in such quantities that it was able to pay the taxes imposed by Perugia in pots and vases instead of money. By the end of the 14th century, Deruta had thus assumed the role of “regional” producer of pottery and had become, so to speak, an exporter. Indeed, according to certain accounts, already in 1358 it had exported over a thousand Deruta pottery pieces to Assisi, the homeland of St. Francis, a place where there was an abundant need for tableware and souvenirs for the pilgrims coming to visit the saint’s tomb.

The richest period was undoubtedly the 16th century, when its craftsmen took part in the climate of the Renaissance artistic and cultural revolution. It was precisely during this period that the famous Raphaelesque decoration, a symbol of ceramic production, became popular. In the early part of the century, Raphael painted a series of frescoes decorating a Loggia in the Vatican, and some of its motifs are “grotesque”: a fantasy composition with plants, animals, and figures. The master craftsmen, even though they had not seen the frescoes personally, knew about them through prints, and the grotesque motifs came to life in their ceramics. From the late 17th to the19th century the town felt the effects of the general political and economic crisis, and also the growth of the competition from other places of production such as, for example, Castelli d'Abruzzo. It would be necessary to wait until the second half of the 19th century to see a revival of the interest in “Renaissance” majolica, and thus Deruta ceramics. Therefore it is absolutely worthwhile, for those who are fortunate enough to visit Umbria, to pay a visit to the factories and shops specialized in this kind of production. Those who, on the other hand, cannot make a trip to this region, at least for the time being, will find a valid and well-stocked online shop on our website. This way, even though they cannot discover “live” the secrets of the art of modeling and baking clay, they can at least admire its results directly in their own homes.

(Towns of production)


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