Europe For The Senses

Author/Photographer Vicki Liston blogs on her book and some interesting places she's traveled. "Europe for the Senses - A Photographic Journal" was published under the name 'Vicki Landes'.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Deruta, Italy – A Pottery Lover’s Pilgrimage

Window after window of priceless painted ceramics, a symphony of colors that dance seamlessly together, and terra cotta-colored buildings that have overlooked the area since the Middle Ages– it’s almost too much to take in for visitors of Deruta. The sun warmly shines down on the masters that lovingly knead and massage their clay while shoppers ‘oohh’ and ‘ahhh’ over the gorgeous works of art. A day in Deruta promises a treasure trove of finds as well as the potential of making new friends - all packaged up in a relaxed atmosphere worthy of any Italian town.

Easy to find and tourist-friendly, Deruta sits right off of Autostrada E45 and immediately greets its visitors with rows of ceramic shops and ample parking. Despite housing over 200 retail stores, each offers its own elegantly unique patterns so it’s difficult to not want to see them all. Stop by Cama, right off the main road, for a tour of the facility and a step-by-step journey through the process of ceramics. Cama’s proud of their family-owned company and guests of their factory will see an uncle spinning cool, wet clay into pots and pitchers while mom is sanding the seams from the dried earthenware. Follow the circuit to witness the expert artists paint each creamy white argil into a masterpiece of color. Cama’s work has been given to the Pope so it’s without a doubt, high-quality craftsmanship.

Deruta’s Old Town also offers shoppers a delightful time but in a more charming atmosphere. Aged buildings adorned by painted tiles sit just past the city gates and scream to be noticed. Visitors pop in and out of little stores while the cheerful water fountain in the middle of the cobblestone road provides soft background music. Shop owners greet passersby with smiles and conversation, eager to share information on their wares. Visit Mariam, whose talent is truly astounding. She sets herself apart from other Deruta artists by using shades of green and painting the outside surface of her bowls. Stop by Rolli Reno, who paints exquisite tiles of all sizes and incorporates them into trays, key ring hooks, and frames. His style explodes with a colorful symmetry that can brighten any place it’s displayed in.

Deruta’s the ‘Ceramic of Ceramics’…any piece is sure to become a family heirloom.

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