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


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
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. 


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


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

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


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.

Adding Authentic Tuscan Ceramics Into Your Home Decor

authenticTuscan ceramics
authenticTuscan ceramics

Looking to add a little family charm to your new home? Look no further than Italy for inspiration. Try adding authentic Tuscan ceramics into your home decor.

Tuscan décor is well known for reflecting the values of the people who live there; it’s tactile, welcoming, and yet rooted in tradition. A celebration of life inspired by rustic villas, spectacular art, rolling countryside and the exquisite hand painted ceramics of the area.

From relaxed fruit and floral motifs to precise depictions of renaissance characters, fine Italian ceramics continue to set the standard for the craft the world over.

Italian ceramics make a stunning statement, whether in your kitchen, on your patio, or incorporated into some other nook in your home.

We can't all race off to Tuscany but we can bring a little bit of Italian charm home through texture, color, and accessories.

The Italian Kitchen

authenticTuscan ceramics

In Italy, the preparation and enjoyment of a meal is usually a long, un-rushed affair… having a beautiful space to cook, eat, and socialize is key.

At the center of the Tuscan kitchen is the kitchen table. Normally a wide-planked wooden table substantial and long-lasting, this is the true heart of the home. A gathering place for friends and family.

Traditional Tuscan kitchens have herbs hanging and flowers on the table in a ceramic vase. Italians are a people connected with the land.There needs to be a seamless transition between outdoors and the organic feel of the inside.

Simple touches like branches or dried flowers freshen a space and bring some of the outside freshness in. Hang a rope of Garlic, a bunch of dried lavender or a braid of onions to decorate your kitchen.

Hanging pots from wrought iron racks or overhead become decorative and practical.

Use glass bottles in racks, antique containers, and bright ceramic jars to add a rustic authenticity.

Click To View

Fresh fruit and vegetables displayed in bowls or on ceramic platters before being consumed lend a decorative touch.

Don't forget that perfect old world style Tuscan clock.

The Dining Room

authenticTuscan ceramics

In Italy lemons, are a widely used design. You see bright yellow paired with deep cobalt blue or creamy white.

Cherries mixed with green leaves enliven plates, bowls, and pitchers of various sizes. Mixed fruit patterns are Italian favorites adding elegance to bowls and platters with colorful pears, peaches, grapes, apples, and quince.

A mixed fruit platter as a centerpiece looks fabulous full of food or empty. Mixing and matching the elements is easy as well. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get attractive pieces. Italian pottery is a beautiful art form and you are sure to enjoy collecting these pieces.

Click To View

Choose handmade accents whenever possible as you mix Italian ceramic pieces together to create a warm, eclectic space. Forget about trying to match everything. When your salad bowl doesn’t exactly match your plates it feels that much more authentic.

The charm of a rustic Italian table is hard to beat. A handmade tablecloth will transform your table into an Italian feast.

I use orange and gold shades that compliment darker dishware. The Tuscan decor style is closely tied to the warm friendly Italian tradition of hospitality. Pitchers filled with wines and water are scattered to so everyone has plenty to drink.

Small bowls filled with sauces will complement everybody's hand painted plates. Make sure they're big enough to fit a little bit of everything while adding a festive effect to your table.

A ceramic salad bowl large enough to toss greens for your entire group could also be used for a fragrant pasta dish.

Click To View

Platters that are stacked with cuts of meat and bowls of appetizing vegetables beg to be passed until diners can eat no more.

Peritivo and Antipasti: A drop of alcohol prepares the palate while small snacks prepare your stomach for the feast ahead. Meats, sliced cheese, or peppers served on ceramic Italian serving dishes.

Primo Piatto: For the first course, soup, pasta, gnocchi, risotto or polenta are traditional. A ceramic pasta serving bowl makes spaghetti to tortellini look gorgeous for your guests.

Secondo Piatto or Piatto di Mezzo: This second course has seafood, meat, poultry or game. For vegetarians, cooked cheese, an omelet, or a vegetable dish are great options.

Contorno: A side dish of cooked vegetables, salads, rice or noodles makes a perfect compliment to the second course. A statement making ceramic salad bowl will make ensure your side will not be overshadowed.

Formaggio & Frutta: These are usually served in sequence, cheese for digestion and fruit to cleanse the palate. A decorative footed ceramic platter makes cherries, apple, or peaches even more appealing.

Dolce and Caffe: Save a little room for dessert and espresso to finish up the feast.

Digestivo: A liqueur like Amaro or Sambuca finishes off the meal.
Save a little room for dessert and espresso to finish up the feast.

The Sitting Room

authenticTuscan ceramics

Tuscan ceramic vases don’t just hold flowers, they bring out the beauty. Those rich colors and whimsical designs add character to the floral arrangement.

Use playful motifs you see on most Tuscan ceramics, like animals, fruit, flowers, or Harlequin characters. These reflect an interplay between joyful living and everyday functionality.

Click To View

Add some warm, ambient lighting, and you have created the perfect conditions for relaxation and elegant comfort.

One color statement can make a striking statement.

The Hallway

authenticTuscan ceramics

Oversized Ginger Jars that include classically designed fruit in intricate details and vivid colors look great.

A display piece or a serving platter on a shelf will brighten any nook.

The Patio

authenticTuscan ceramics

Some mismatched wall ceramics add a sense of drama and flair. There's n need for them to match perfectly… the more eclectic your collection, the better!

Italians are experts at creating comfortable beautiful spaces for entertaining friends and family outdoors. After all, alfresco dining and coffee sipping in the piazza are typical Italian activities that require the same thing: a perfect outdoor setting.

Bring the warmth of the Italian Countryside to your special garden niche.

Click To View

Hand painted jugs, ceramic bowls, and colorful Italian plates perfectly represent the Mediterranean lifestyle and are the perfect accompaniment to long, leisurely, family gatherings outside in the sunshine...

Garden accessories like furniture and decorative accents in natural materials such as wood, ceramic, iron, and stone help portray the rustic, warm Tuscan feeling so characteristic of the Italian style.

Use large garden planters to add a tree or two. Plant vivid colored flowers in the smaller containers.

Starting Your Italian Ceramic Collection

authenticTuscan ceramics

Here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the years when it comes to Italian studio pottery:

Start off small. Gradually introduce Italian ceramics into your home a piece or two at a time.

Collectors and those who want to start collecting pottery can often get in way over their heads. They buy, buy and buy until their credit cards are maxed out. This isn’t the wisest decision because people often end up with a real mash and not a fine mix and match collection.

I recommend mix and matching various styles instead of becoming dependent on one specific type. Bear in mind that this could stop being produced before your collection is complete or as soon as you break a few dinner pieces. Authentic Italian ceramics are painted by hand and will always vary anyway, so why not take advantage of the variety!

Don’t go in for cheap stuff. Pottery making is a difficult, painstaking, time-consuming process and the end result cannot be cheap. If it is, somethings wrong and most probably you’re buying a fake. ( take a look at my post “how to tell if you're buying authentic Italian ceramics”)

Ogni cosa si compra a prezzo.

Quality is definitely worth paying for however, a high price tag doesn’t guarantee quality. Buy from source if you can and go with what first appeals to you.

Don't try to match Tuscan style dinnerware. Choose a few colors and build your collection around those. You will be certain to find colors that work with your style. Soft greens, warm yellows, cobalt blues, and rich reds are a good beginning.

One statement piece can transform a room. Instead of starting with a new collection of Italian style dinnerware, incorporate a few stylish serving platters.

Visit Tuscany If You Can!

Ciò che Dio fa è ben fatto.