Shopping For Pottery In The Hill Towns Of Umbria

pottery in the hill towns of Umbria
pottery in the hill towns of Umbria

Shopping for pottery in the hill towns of Umbria? You've chosen the right place. This region is chock full of talented artists and craftsmen who take enormous pride in their work. 

Seeking out these artisans and their handcrafted goods as a tourist, though, can be a little tricky. Life in Italy seems so laid back. Lets spend a lazy afternoon sipping cappuccino in the piazza to exploring the sites on a scooter.

There is still that enviable charm surrounding “la dolce vita.”

The Umbria Region Of Italy

Umbria is one of few regions in Italy that has four towns with the ancient tradition of ceramics: Deruta, Orvieto, Gabio, and Gualdo Tadino.The region is divided into two provinces, Terni And Perugia. Perugia is the capital. Umbria covers an 8,500 square kilometer area and has a population of 870,000, which makes it the fourth lowest populated regions in the country.

The chic rustic simplicity of the hill towns, with their deep fertile valleys and rugged mountains, are a real joy for the amateur photographer. The Umbriam crafts, museums, wine, olives, truffles, fungi, porcini, fennel, and chestnuts will have you coming back again and again.

“If there is a side road, we’ll take it,” explained Sandy, recalling their recent trip to Italy. We’ve had some great experiences pulling into vineyard estates and buying bottles of wine. We’ve also enjoyed shopping for pottery in the hill towns of Umbria and dropping into churches that are simple from the outside but have amazing frescoes inside.”

The Ceramics Of Umbria

Rich clay soil, an abundance of water and forests with the perfect wood to stoke the kilns, has guaranteed the development of fine studios in Umbria down the centuries.

Visitors interested in hand-painted pottery today won't be disappointed.

Many collectors of Italian Studio Pottery avoid the temptation to buy in heavily congested cities like Florence, where you’re likely to pay more.

They prefer shopping for pottery in the hill towns of Umbria where they are able to connect with the artists themselves.

Umbria is the only Italian region with no international borders or access to the sea.The hill towns have been relatively free from tourism. This may be the reason that the people make you feel so welcome. You will be impressed with their wonderful honesty, natural kindness, and generosity.

Shopping For Pottery In The Hill Towns of Umbria

Deruta

pottery in the hill towns of Umbria

My personal favorite place to shop for maiolica (also known as “majolica”) is in Deruta, a small Umbrian town about 20 kilometers from Perugia.

True maiolica devotees flock to Deruta, where there are over three-hundred ceramic studios reflecting a wide range of styles, and quality.Deruta has been famous for ceramics for well over 300 years, and they're still producing amazing pottery using the same methods, materials, and designs that were used by previous generations of potters.

The local economy here is dominated by the production of hand-made, hand-painted ceramics.The ceramics attract visitors from all over the world who come to browse and buy in the dozens of small shops that line the cobblestoned streets.

When shopping for pottery in the hilltowns of Umbria avoid the larger, more industrialized operations on the outskirts of town that advertise heavily along the highway.The prices are lower but so is the quality.These stores are my personal favorites:

The town is divided into two main sections: the small old town on the hill, which is quaint and full of ceramic stores, and the larger newer area down below, which has a bit more traffic, but is also full of ceramic stores, showrooms and showrooms.

pottery in the hill towns of Umbria

We missed our friends on our last trip but were blown away by the intricate Deruta patterns many of which are inspired by nature, with fruit, flowers, and animals common subjects for Italian majolica pottery.

Mixed fruit patterns add elegance to planters and platters with colorful apples, peaches, pears, grapes and quince.

I noticed lemons, are still a widely used pattern. The bright yellow color often paired with deep cobalt blue back grounds or on creamy white.

Pottery Shops In Duruta

Ceramiche Sberna

Via Tiberina, 146

Tel: 39 075-971-0206


Anna and Franca, daughters of Francesco Sberna who, after working for twenty years in close contact with the most important Derutese Masters of the twentieth century, founded a small artisan workshop that is still one of the most important factories in Deruta.

Ceramiche Sberna produces prestigious home and table decorations.

Their shapes and drawings and scrupulous search for colors and designs that follow fashion inspire contemporary art.

The pottery here is of the highest quality found anywhere in Italy.

pottery in the hill towns of Umbria
pottery in the hill towns of Umbria
pottery in the hill towns of Umbria

Grazia Deruta

Via Tiberina Centro 181 

Tel: 39 075-971-0201

The oldest ceramics workshop in town. A wonderful place to find pottery in the hill towns of Umbria. Be sure to visit, especially their workshops.

Since 1500 the Grazia family has been producing high-quality majolica using the time honored hand made methods passed down from one generation to the next.


Would you like to visit the Deruta factory? You’re more than welcome! Entrance and guided tours are free. Reservation is not necessary, unless you come with a group. One can also participate in majolica courses, after reservation and payment. For questions or more information you can contact us or Ubaldo Grazia and Emanuela (they also speak English).

Ubaldo Grazia
Email: ubaldograzia@ubaldograzia.com
Tel: +39 075 971 0201

pottery in the hill towns of Umbria
pottery in the hill towns of Umbria
pottery in the hill towns of Umbria
shopping for ceramics in tuscany


Franco Mari





In the last 25 years, Franco Mari has produced some of the most eye catching innovative dinnerware designs available. Franco Mari, besides continuing the family tradition, has left a personal touch with his products. He achieves this by creating styles, designs, and color combinations to meet the needs of a sophisticated clientele. Franco's new style, that uses and improves on ancient techniques, has opened the door to new markets around the world.


Ceramiche Aristiche Gialletti Giulio S.n.c

Owned and operated by Carlo and Antonio Gialletti.
The company was founded in 1959 by their father Giulio and their grandfather Virgilio,and the legacy has continued through three generations. The fourth is busy growing up to hopefully one day continue in the Gialletti family footsteps.

Every piece is entirely hand crafted and decorated and is of the highest quality.

Ceramiche Aristiche Gialletti Giulio S.n.c
Address: Via Tiberina Sud, 304, 06053 Deruta PG, Italy
Phone: +39 075 972021

If you go be sure to visit MOD Maioliche Originali Deruta and you may like to do a tour of the workshops. For lunch I like Taverna del Gusto. I have stayed over at the L' Ántico Forziere and the restaurant  food is wonderful. 

Orvieto

pottery in the hill towns of Umbria

Orvieto has a developed completely differently when it comes to ceramics.

Despite the fact that its only a 45-minute drive from Durata the merchandise could not be more different.


(Orvieto can be enjoyed on a day trip from Rome, as it is only about an hour’s drive north.) The town of Orvieto is made for strolling.There are tons of places to buy, but these are my favorites:

Pottery Shops In Orvieto


Ceramichefusari

For over 50 years the Fusari family has been creating hand-made and hand-painted traditional Italian ceramics. Their love and passion for there work is seen in each unique pieces they create. Their well defined artistic identity is mixed with antique patterns from central Italy.


The product array of ceramics Fusari offers is vast and unique. It has an elegant artistic style perfect for any environment, both classic and modern.

The workshop and showroom are located in the center of Orvieto on Corso Cavour, not far from Piazza Cahen.

Corso Cavour 431/433, Orvieto (TR), 05018 Italia
Tel(+39) 0763.342921
E-mailinfo@ceramichefusari.com

pottery in the hill towns of Umbria
pottery in the hill towns of Umbria

Gubbio

pottery in the hill towns of Umbria

Check out the shops and art workshops on Via dei Consoli, Via XX Settembre and the access roads to Piazza Grande (or Pensile).

Pottery Shops In Gubbio

La Mastro Giorgio Di Biagioli Valentino

Address: Piazza Grande, 3,

06024 Gubbio PG, Italy

Phone: +39 075 927 1574

Morelli Francesco

Address: Via Ducale, 10,

06024 Gubbio PG, Italy

Phone: +39 075 927 7216

Gualdo Tadino

shopping for Italian ceramics in the hill towns of Umbria

This hill-top town facing the valley of the Resina river is known for its beautiful studio pottery and polychrome terra-cotta with a metal glare.The luster technique depends on the Muffola: a special kiln used for the third firing and fuelled with bundles of broom that grow in the Gualdese Apennines and is the key to producing the smoke that generates that fantastic metallic luster.

Pottery Shops In Gualda Tadino

Passeri Ceramiche d'Arte

Via Flaminia Nord, 6

+39 075 914 0089

If you go be sure to visit the beautiful churches and cathedrals. I stayed over at Borgo Sant'Angelo - Albergo Diffuso a very comfortable bed and breakfast. For lunch La Terrazza di San Guido Restaurant is hard to beat.


Keep Smiling: You’re in Italy a country that has inspired visitors for centuries. When shopping for pottery in the hilltowns of Umbria

melt into the beautiful lifestyle, art, music, and scenery. Trade smiles with Italians and bring home memories of a really magnificent country.

Shopping For Ceramics In Tuscany

shopping for ceramics in tuscany

shopping for ceramics in Tuscany

Want to do some shopping for ceramics in Tuscany? You’re in the right place. Insiders know that Tuscany—a region filled with talented artisans and craftsmen who take pride in their work—is one of the best places in Italy to shop for ceramics.

Seeking out these artisans and their handcrafted goods as a tourist, though, can be a little tricky, especially with all of the made-in-China knickknacks flooding tourist sites.

Here are some tips for finding the best shopping in Tuscany!

Montelupo Fiorentino, Anghiari, Asciano, Carmignano, Impruneta, Montepulciano, Montopoli in Val d'Arno, Sesto Fiorentino, Vico Pisano and Trequanda are Tuscan Ceramic Cities. These places share an important and unique tradition along with their wonderful landscapes, good food, and great history: ceramic production.

In these cities the ancient art of molding clay, giving it shape and enriching an idea with vibrant color and decoration is not just about production, it’s about cultural tradition.

Montelupo Fiorentino

Montelupo Fiorentino is located just on the outskirts of Florence. The production of majolica started in medieval times, thanks to the natural abundance of clay in the surrounding areas, due to regular flooding of the Arno river.

Today there are more than 100 active firms and craftsmen.

The factories are outside town (they don't appear to do many direct sales), and there are several shops within town selling pottery of varying quality.

Ceramiche d’Arte Tuscia

Via Chiantigiana, 264,

50055 Ginestra Fiorentina (FI)

Phone: 055 8713352 Fax: 055 8714800

Email: info@ceramichetuscia.com

Website: http://www.ceramichetuscia.com

Ceramiche d’Arte Tuscia is home to some of the most talented Italian ceramic artists. We never cease to be amazed to see how they combine modern and traditional elements to come up with completely unique, personal ceramic pieces.

One of the streets in Montelupo which goes up the hill alongside the river has a ceramic shop on the right worth visiting. Ceramica, Via XX Settembre. They do a lot of traditional work, as well as some very contemporary designs.


Anghiari

shopping for ceramics in Tuscany

A charming little town at the summit of a hill that dominates the upper part of the Valtiberina Valley.

Documentation of ceramic production in this area dates back to the second half of the 18th century, with local items characterized by a special glaze, which gave the pottery a shiny and uniform black color.

Asciano


In the heart of the Crete Senesi area, Asciano has produced fine majolica earthenware since the 14th century.

Carmignano


Carmignano contains almost everything the world loves about Tuscany: Romanesque churches, medieval castles, Medici Villas, contemporary art , great food and wine and oil!

Impruneta

shopping for ceramics in Tuscany


A few kilometers from Florence, this charming little town surrounded by hills with excellent clay, has been at the center of a thriving terracotta earthenware economy since medieval times.

Since then, Impruneta’s kilns have never stopped working and its terracotta is still one of the preferred materials for some of the most famous architects worldwide.

Montepulciano


Don’t miss the terracotta sculptures on the façade of St. Augustine, attributed to Michelozzo, and the hall dedicated to Luca della Robbia inside the Civic Museum.

Important Tip! These towns are noted for production while the selling is often done in the larger cities.

Shopping For Ceramics in Tuscany

On my first trip in my quest to find an “authentic” artisan in some forgotten village untouched by tourism, I made the mistake of looking too far off the grid.

Stick to Tuscany’s larger towns and villages.You are far more likely to find working artisans in well-trafficked towns like Florence and Siena than in very small villages with few visitors.

 

I suggest leaving high-end ceramics shopping to the collectors and instead look for a small shop run by a local ceramics artist. (no famous name required).

Pay attention to shop hours.If you're planning to hit a hill town for lunch, then spend the afternoon touring the village and browsing the shops? Not a good idea!

Many of the shops in smaller Tuscan towns shut between 1 pm and 3pm, or even 4 pm. To avoid the disappointment, visit smaller hill towns in the morning or in the late afternoon.

Now follow this simple rule and you will never go wrong: Buy what you love.

San Gimignano

shopping for ceramics in Tuscany

San Gimignano is about 25 miles north of Siena, Italy and about 30 miles south of Florence.
This is the heart of Tuscany, among enchanted hills covered with cypress, vineyards and olive groves.Here the towers of San Gimignano, dominate the entire valley.

The ancient walls and ramparts that encircle the town have kept it virtually untouched over the centuries.

Balducci Ceramics

Piazza delle erbe, 5, 53037 San Gimignano SI, 

Phone: +39 0577 943188

shopping for ceramics in Tuscany

Balducci Ceramics is a small ceramic workshop and retail shop owned by Franco Balducci and his wife Esther Vogeli located on Piazza delle Erbe near the center of San Gimignano.

Leoncini Ceramiche

Address: Via San Giovanni, 60-62-64, 53037 San Gimignano

Phone: +39 0577 942086

Brothers Luciano and Daniele Leoncini offer a wide assortment of pottery made with great care and ability.

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Florence

shopping for ceramics in Tuscany

Florence streets are made for walking, which suits me down to the ground but what you never forget is its overwhelming beauty.

The city fabric has hardly changed since the Renaissance and its narrow cobbled streets are a feast of 15th- and 16th-century palaces, medieval chapels, fresco-decorated churches, marble basilicas and world-class art museums brimming with paintings and sculptures.

Florence is home to some of the greatest art and architecture in the world. I've visited the city at least 30 times, and with each new visit, I'm reminded that I've only scratched the surface of all that the city has to offer.

Ceramics come from workshops in and around Florence, and from the small nearby town of Montelupo famous for its ceramic production.

Florentine designs usually feature images of the countryside, leaves, grapes,fruit and Tuscan nature scenes with yellow as the predominant color, reminding one of the sunflowers that can be seen all over the Tuscan hills.

Ceramiche D’arte Parrini is a workshop founded by Bennati Antonella and Mauro Lauro Parrini in 1956 near Florence in CampiBisenzio.

The Pottery Shops Of Florence

Ceramiche D’arte Parrini

Piazza della Signoria

Via dei Cimatori 34r - 50122

Millissa Rodgers

”After crossing the Ponte Vecchio, I stumbled upon this wonderful small shop filled with unique Italian ceramic pottery. I purchased three water pitcher, Aqua, in colors of blue/white, green/white, and blue/yellow/white. The unique design had a handle twisted like candy ribbon. Very unusual and beautiful. I have never found anything in ceramic quite like these pitchers after wandering into many shops in Italy. These make wonderful gifts or an addition to your table setting. 

Just across from the Ponte Vecchio this shop has become one of the best suppliers of Italian ceramics, made and painted by hand.

At Ceramiche D’arte Parrini they want to maintain and reproduce the relationship between nature and materials. Bright and cheerful Tuscan pottery, entirely handmade and hand painted, with unusual color palettes, distinctive shapes, large sizes and great quality  remind you of the sunny bright Mediterranean colors. A perfect harmony of yellow, green, red and blue, yet retaining a personal chromatic mark.

” The color on our ceramics plays a very important role. Color represents life, light, warmth, nature, feeling and passion.” CERAMICHE D’ARTE PARRINI.

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The studio is the result of a lifetime of hard work and dedication to his art. In May 2016 “Ceramiche D’arte Parrini ” of Bennati Antonella earned the recognition: ” TUSCANY MASTER CRAFTSMAN”

Born near Pisa 1956 in Montecatini Val di Cecina. Lauro Parrini completed his studies at Sesto Fiorentino at the Ceramic Arts Institute obtaining his diploma as Master of Arts.Lauro Parrinis early work was influenced by the green, cobalt blue and yellow color ceramics of Montelupo Fiorentino.

Watch A Master At Work

Sbigoli Terrecotte

Address: via San Egidio,4/r

Phone: +39 055 247 9713

shopping for ceramics in Tuscany

 I can’t think of a more charming store that Sbigoli,

The streets of Florence used to be filled with small scale artigiani, working in the back and selling their wares up front. Sbigoli is one of the few that remain.

Their show room is located a few blocks from the Duomo and is filled with incredibly affordable, well made, timeless pieces.

The back of the store is devoted to their small workshop where they sit at benches, painting the delicate patterns onto every shape and size, before loading them into the kiln.

Sbigoli’s designs are all their own and feature small flowers, bunches of grapes, and unpretentious patterns that never seem to go out of style.

Galleria Ponte Vecchio

Via Guicciardini,104r,

Phone: 055 2398400

Small shop, with really lovely handpainted ceramics from all over Tuscany, especially Montelupo. Prices a bit high, but the quality is much finer than in many other stores in the area.

Arte Crete

Via del Proconsolo 63r,

Phone:055 284341

Elizabet Di Constanzo paints lovely ceramics, in a style very much her own.

Stylized flowers, animals, impressionistic Tuscan landscapes decorate pitchers, plates, oil jars, and tiles. Very expensive, but oh so wonderful.

This shop is around the corner back of the Duomo.

Le Mie Ceramiche - Florence and Deruta Ceramics

via Verdi, 8r (just off Piazza Santa Croce)

Phone: 055 24 66 007

shopping for ceramics in Tuscany

Ambra, the ceramics artist, produces pieces that remind you of the Tuscan countryside and Florence in general.

They all the pieces in the shop, working at their workshop at home and in the store itself.

Ceramics here are inspired by the style found in the nearby town of Montelupo, famous for its ceramics worldwide.

Carnesecchi 

 via Guicciardini, 4r (between Pitti Palace and Ponte Vecchio)



Phone: 055 23 98 523

shopping for ceramics in Tuscany

Many of the hand-painted designs and patterns are exclusive to the shop and can’t be found elsewhere in Florence.

This shop is right in the heart of Florence, on probably one of the busiest streets in town. What sets ‘Carnesecchi’ apart from all the other shops in the downtown area. Matteo and Lucy take special care of their customers. Ask them to make a ceramic item and they will have it in a day or two.

"Absolutely loved this shop. I was so hoping I could order from them online when I returned home as I was limited as to what I could carry on the plane. They were so kind, helpful, and patient. They kindly bubble wrapped my purchases for me. If I am ever back in Florence, this will be my first stop." Juliet

Siena

Siena is Italy's loveliest medieval city, and a trip worth making even if you are in Tuscany for just a few days.

The city is 76km south of Florence on the Florence–Siena autostrada, however the journey via the SR222 is the same distance in kilometres and is much more scenic

Siena's central piazza known as Il Campo,is known worldwide for the famous Palio run here, a horse race run around the piazza two times every summer.Its a feast for the senses with vibrant streets populated with artisanal studios, sweet-smelling pastry shops and tempting local restaurants.

Una cena senza vino e come un giorno senza sole – A meal without wine is a day without sunshine.

Pottery Shops In Siena

Bianco e Nero di Sonia Staccioli

Via Fusari, 21
+39 0577 28109
shopping for ceramics in Tuscany

Walter and his daughter paint primarily in a blue and soft green. They also produce an orange and black line.Shop is around the corner from the Duomo.

Studio Artistico

via San Pietro, 22,
Phone: +39 0577 288188

If you are looking for ceramics in Siena, this is the spot. The shop is tiny but all the work is done on site. Everything is beautifully painted by hand.

Se non hai mai pianto, i tuoi occhi non possono essere belli. – If you haven’t cried, your eyes can’t be beautiful.-Sophia Loren


	

We Visit Italian Pottery Studios In Deruta

 visit Italian pottery studios

If you are touring the Ceramic Cities be sure to visit Italian pottery studios or small manufacturing plants in Deruta. Watch the potter up to his elbows in mud at a wheel pulling up pitchers, dishes, vases and different articles.

The words Italian ceramics mean far more than items made of clay, earthenware or majolica. These words embody history, artistic heritage, regional traditions, the creativity of a people. They touch a chord in our souls. That’s the reason so many people are passionate about Italian ceramics.

Nowadays, in English, the word Majolica is used to refer to ceramic ware in the stylistic tradition of the Italian Renaissance.Italian Pottery, Italian Ceramics or Italian Maiolica.

Hopefully, in time, others will join in the joy that comes from owning examples of magnificent handcrafted Italian pottery that are created by artisans who respect the traditions of the past while being able to incorporate the very best of the contemporary and the modern.

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La semplicità è l’ultima sofisticazione – Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.-Leonardo Da Vinci

We Visit Italian Pottery Studios In Deruta

visit Italian pottery studios

Step One: The Potter "IL TORNIANTE"

In a process that has been applied for centuries, the art of Maiolica begins with a plain lump of refined clay that will be slowly brought to life by "Il Torniante".

The Potter masterfully transforms the raw chunk of clay on a wheel into a plate, a vessel, a plate or a large urn. The molded clay piece referred to as "In Terra" (Green ware) is then placed in the open air for natural drying. It will dry to a grayish color and is now ready for the first firing in the kiln.

Step Two: The First Firing "LA PRIMA COTTURA"

The naturally dried item is loaded into the kiln to be processed at the "Prima Cottura". The clay item that is taken from the kiln after this first 750-degree firing is referred to as "Biscotto" (Bisque).

Step Three: The Glazing "LA SMALTATURA"

Once cooled, the Bisque has to be dipped into the "Smalto", a quick drying chalky liquid glaze. This

prevents the colors from spreading and blurring into each other during the painting process.

This step is an important part of the entire process since the next firing will melt the glaze with the colors, determining tones, glazing texture, and the uniform quality of the piece.

Every factory has its own secret formula for the chemical composition of the "Smalto"

The Bisque, now completely covered by this white powdery glaze, is ready for painting.

Step Four: (The Painting) "LA PITTURA"

visit Italian pottery studios

The painstaking process of painting the Bisque is the essence of Maiolica. I like to visit Italian pottery studios just to watch the master painters at work. It’ s absolutely enthralling.

The Painter, "Il Pittore", might paint a decoration freehand, or make use a type of pounce, "Spolvero", to stencil sketches of the final design.

The painter has to fully understand the complexities of coloration because the raw glazes used all have a very similar gray/black tone. The final true, brilliant colors will be produced only after the finished piece emerges from the final firing.

Step Five: The Second Firing "LA SECONDA COTTURA"

This is the final step. The painted piece is loaded again onto the kiln for a second firing at 750-degrees. This delicate step requires great care to avoid touching or scratching any item to be fired.

A final firing at 1690° Fahrenheit will make the glaze interact with the metal oxides used by the painter to create the deep and brilliant translucent colors specific to majolica.

To make sure the item will be perfect and will not be chipped or cracked, some potters expose it to 24 hours of firing where more than 12 hours are exposed to constant high heat?”

At the conclusion of the firing, the ceramic piece, now referred to as Maiolica, may have to cool in the kiln for up to another 12 hours to avoid “thermal shocks.

It may not be possible for you to visit Italian pottery studios but you can start a collection of authentic Italian ceramics right where you are.

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Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto. – Eat well, laugh often, love much.

How To Be Sure You’re Buying Authentic Italian Ceramics

buying authentic Italian ceramics

A lot of the ceramics in stores today is not actually from Italy. Stores in the US, in particular, are full of imitations, believe me. So, Make sure you're buying authentic Italian ceramics. Before you conclude the deal of your life and pay an unbelievably low price for what looks like a stunning piece of Italian Studio Pottery, take a look at these simple guidelines.

Lots of beautiful looking ceramic pieces are been stamped by a machine and sold to unsuspecting customers as authentic Italian ceramics.

How Can I Make Sure I Am Buying Authentic Italian Ceramics?

If a piece has not been made by hand, it isn’t real Italian maiolica period. It's fairly easy to see hand thrown marks inside a vase, not as easy to tell if a plate has been hand molded or mass-produced before decoration.

Stacking

One way you can tell is to pile a few plates on top of one another. They will probably not stack perfectly. Some will be thicker than others and others may have a slightly different thickness or angle. Some collectors prize these small imperfections as a way to make sure an item is unique.

The Signature

Genuine hand crafted ceramics should have a maker’s signature on the bottom of the piece. Some pieces even have the name or initials of the artist. A sticker or stamp on the base that substitutes for the signature is definitely a sign of a possible fake.

It is true that many workshops write a number on the bottom of the piece. This may often be followed by a slash and another number. The presence of the number doesn't make the piece authentic, or more unique. The first number often represents the shape catalog number and the second number the size in centimeters. Many workshops do not write numbers and make pieces that are just as beautiful.

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Chi dorme non piglia pesci – Those who sleep don’t catch any fish.

The Glaze

Older Italian pieces will have little hair lines in the glaze. This is a natural result of the aging process. If you want to be sure you are buying authentic Italian ceramics be wary of anything that seems too perfect.

With authentic hand painted ceramics the foot will not be glazed. This ring will look and feel slightly rough when you run your fingers over it. Ceramic that is completely glazed ( including the foot) have been painted by a machine.

Turn the ceramic piece you’re interested in over and make certain there's an unglazed circle. It must feel rough to the touch. If it's white and smooth then it's not an original Italian ceramic, made using traditional materials and techniques.This area, normally a circle, shows the original brown orange color of the bisque. Sometimes the bisque is made of white grayish color clay, often used for smaller pieces, but it’s may still be clearly visible.

The Painting

Hand painted glaze should have slight variations in thickness that you’ll be able to feel. If you inspect them closely you will be able to see the single strokes that contribute to the beauty and artistry of your piece.

The Design

Although some designs are typical of a region and have been made for centuries, in the same way, a piece is defined as maiolica if made using certain clays, entirely by hand and using majolica glazes. For example, Some people believe that Deruta majolica must be found in certain designs only.

Actually, the design has no bearing in the authenticity of an item, what really matters is the process used to create the piece.

The Price

Try to find out about the studio where the piece was made. If you wish to begin collecting fine Italian ceramics be sure to buy from reputable dealers. Choose stores that are able to tell you more about the piece than just its price. Buy from someone who is happy to spend some time to educate you, who knows the name of the artisans and has a return policy.

Even in Italy in some high tourist areas, you might have to watch that you are buying authentic Italian ceramics and not a cheap import from somewhere else.

Of course, buying from source is one way you can be sure you are buying authentic Italian ceramics.Try to buy from stores that have an attached studio that you might be able to tour to see work in production.

Ask whether the ceramics are entirely hand made not just hand-painted. Be inquisitive especially if you are going to purchase a large expensive piece! Some studios will even be able to custom design a unique piece for you to purchase if have something specific in mind.

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Una cena senza vino e come un giorno senza sole – A meal without wine is a day without sunshine.