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Deruta, Italy - A Pottery Lover's Pilgrimage

Nov 30, 2007
Attracting droves of tourists every year, Europe promises the ancient, the diverse, and the completely fascinating. Most travelers scurry past the major sites and cram in as much as possible in order to get through a list of 'must sees.' Unfortunately, much is overlooked due to lack of time and money while the infinite unique treasures sometimes hidden for the resourceful traveler remain undiscovered and unappreciated. Not that visits to the key attractions should be dissuaded!

On the contrary, I'm simply inviting the European travelers to dig a little deeper into their destination country and find the gems that will make them smile as they recall them even decades later. Remember and celebrate the taste of a fresh German pretzel, the sweet smell of the air in a Tuscan vineyard, or the baby soft petals in a colorful field of Dutch tulips. Savor an entire spectrum of sensory bliss as you skip from one country to the next, searching for that tiny unique detail that you will fondly relish for the rest of your life.


Window after window of priceless painted ceramics, a symphony of colors that dance seamlessly together, and terra cotta-colored buildings that have overlooked the area since the Middle Ages - it's almost too much to take in for visitors of Deruta. The sun warmly shines down on the masters that lovingly knead and massage their clay while shoppers 'oohh' and 'ahhh' over the gorgeous works of art. A day in Deruta promises a treasure trove of finds as well as the potential of making new friends - all packaged up in a relaxed atmosphere worthy of any Italian town.

Easy to find and tourist-friendly, Deruta sits right off of Autostrada E45 and immediately greets its visitors with rows of ceramic shops and ample parking. Despite housing over 200 retail stores, each offers its own elegantly unique patterns so it's difficult to not want to see them all. Stop by Cama, right off the main road, for a tour of the facility and a step-by-step journey through the process of ceramics. Cama's proud of their family-owned company and guests of their factory will see an uncle spinning cool, wet clay into pots and pitchers while mom is sanding the seams from the dried earthenware. Follow the circuit to witness the expert artists paint each creamy white argil into a masterpiece of color. Cama's work has been given to the Pope so it's without a doubt, high-quality craftsmanship.

Deruta's Old Town also offers shoppers a delightful time but in a more charming atmosphere. Aged buildings adorned by painted tiles sit just past the city gates and scream to be noticed. Visitors pop in and out of little stores while the cheerful water fountain in the middle of the cobblestone road provides soft background music. Shop owners greet passersby with smiles and conversation, eager to share information on their wares. Visit Mariam, whose talent is truly astounding. She sets herself apart from other Deruta artists by using shades of green and painting the outside surface of her bowls. Stop by Rolli Reno, who paints exquisite tiles of all sizes and incorporates them into trays, key ring hooks, and frames. His style explodes with a colorful symmetry that can brighten any place it's displayed in.

Deruta's the 'Ceramic of Ceramics'...any piece is sure to become a family heirloom
About the Author
Vicki Landes is the author and photographer of Europe for the Senses, a Photographic Journal. She has been soaking up Europe for the last six years and has visited 42 countries. Learn more at Europe for the Senses
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