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 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
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.
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.
In the heart of the Crete Senesi area, Asciano has produced fine majolica earthenware since the 14th century.
Carmignano contains almost everything the world loves about Tuscany: Romanesque churches, medieval castles, Medici Villas, contemporary art , great food and wine and oil!
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.
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 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.
Piazza delle erbe, 5, 53037 San Gimignano SI,
Phone: +39 0577 943188
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.
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.
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
”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.
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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
Address: via San Egidio,4/r
Phone: +39 055 247 9713
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
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.
Via del Proconsolo 63r,
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
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.
via Guicciardini, 4r (between Pitti Palace and Ponte Vecchio)
Phone: 055 23 98 523
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 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 StaccioliVia Fusari, 21
+39 0577 28109
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.
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