- Perched on a porous volcanic rock plateau, the geology of Orvieto is characterized by layers of volcanic materials, such as lava, ash, and pumice, permitting the easy creation of caves, cisterns, tunnels and underground cavities over the centuries.
Over the years, the orvietani have often uncovered remnants of medieval and Renaissance ceramic plates, bowls, cups, jars, and vases in the grottoes, cavities and tunnels carved out of the rupe (rocky plateau). During the 1348 outbreak of the plague, personal objects and vessels were considered vehicles of infection and tossed into the cavities. Over the centuries, ceramicists, too, discarded their unsuccessful, defective objects by dumping them into cavities or even wells or cisterns – where locals also disposed of broken household items.
And not only the medieval ceramics of Orvieto were splendid artisanal creations…..
…but also the 6th – 3rd-c B.C. Etruscan ceramics, frequently unearthed during excavations carried out in the Orvieto-area necropoli.
Recently a Roman kiln was unearthed in a town near Orvieto on Lake Corbara, underscoring the ancient production of ceramics. This artisanal craft has been passed from generation to generation, prevailing in Orvieto as one of the most appreciated artisanal crafts.
Near a medieval kiln in the midst of the winding backstreets in one of the oldest sections of Orvieto, medieval and Renaissance pottery is displayed. Noted for innovative decor and excellent workmanship, the predominant colors were coppery green, white and black manganese. Female figures – often mythical ones – and vegetation and animals were the preferred themes for the decoration.
Many of the orvietani ceramicists today create maiolica objects in the traditional colors and motifs so typical of Orvieto….
We, too, have a few pieces of maiolica orvietana….
….the designs and colors, so very different from the Deruta maiolica pieces:
In Orvieto, Nadia and Adalberto of Ceramicarte are two of the most talented creators of Orvieto maiolica wonders these days:
….and oh, those lamps!
A few years ago during our Orvieto days at the Umbria Jazz Winter festival, we’d noted their shop. not far from the Duomo….
….and dropped in to see their artwork:
….and we celebrated our December 30th anniversary that year not only with Umbria Jazz concerts but with a Ceramicarte lamp now hanging in our kitchen:
Grazie mille, Nadia and Adalberto – we laud your creativity. May we meet again soon in Orvieto: we’re looking forward to seeing your latest creations.
Click here to read about Orvieto’s Winter Jazz Festival
Read about another talented young artisan of Orvieto, Federico Badia
Read here more about Federico Badia – and see his work!
Read about Orvieto fresco masterpieces
Click here to more about fresco splendor in Orvieto
Read about the Orvieto Duomo‘s treasured Holy Corporal linked to a 13th-c miracle
Read about – and see! – the splendid Signorelli fresco of “The Preaching of the Antichrist”
Click here to read about Etruscan Orvieto
Read about a jazz lunch at the Ristorante San Francesco
Read about another memorable Umbria Jazz Winter concert
Read more about Umbria Jazz Winter
Read more on Umbria Jazz Winter, Orvieto
Click here for more on why Umbria Jazz Winter entices