Deruta’s Ceramics: a Living Renaissance Art Form – May 8th, 2021
Deruta showcases Italian art, culture and history in its winding backstreets, medieval churches and prized ceramics. Since the Middle Ages, this Umbria medieval hill town near the Tiber River has been a major production center of glazed ceramics, maiolica. Deruta is a veritable hymn to maiolica. In Italy’s first ceramics museum, the late 19th-century Museo Regionale della Ceramica, over 5000 artisan masterpieces of the past four centuries incorporate landmark historical events and images inspired by Italy’s greatest Renaissance painters.
The 14th-century civic palace and the medieval churches in the town (and in the surrounding countryside) house fresco splendor and maiolica gems. Even Deruta’s beloved August festival, il Palio delle Brocche (“Contest of the Pitchers”), celebrates maiolica.
We’ll end our explorations in the Deruta countryside with a stop at a countryside shrine housing hundreds of whimsical maiolica folk-art treasures spanning four centuries. A bittersweet visit: we’ll note the voids on the chapel wall left by 200 maiolica plaques stolen in 1980.
We’ll end our tour with a surprise: not far away at a locked-up roadside chapel, an elderly key-holder will open the door to the 15th-century fresco splendor inside. Deruta, a treasure trove – as you’ll see.