About the Regions



Tuscany is a region of central Italy located between the Apennines and the Tyrrhenian Sea. The region was the heart of the Etruscan civilization from the 9th century BCE to their assimilation by the Romans six centuries later. The Etruscans sparked the centuries-old tradition of pottery making in the Tuscan region. Beautiful terra cotta clay sculptures, ornaments, and everyday items of utility from this civilization can still be seen in major museums in Europe and North America.

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Montelupo Fiorentino

Montelupo is located at the confluence of the Pesa and Arno rivers, just a few miles west of Florence. The area is rich in two components that are fundamental to the making of pottery; plentiful clay sediments and forests full with hard woods and underbrush for the firing. Archeological excavations have found fragments of pottery that date back to pre-Etruscan time.

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The Chianti Region

The Chianti Region is, of course, primarily famous for its homonymous wine, for the striking allure of its landscape, for the proximity of the hugely important cultural centers of Florence and Siena, and for the many culinary treasures.

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Umbria is a landlocked region of Central Italy southeast of Tuscany and known as La Verde Umbria for its heavily forested hills and mountains and its extensively cultivated valleys. The region is home to some of the most picturesque and well-preserved medieval towns in Italy: Perugia, Gubbio, Todi, Spoleto, Orvieto, and Assisi.

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Deruta is one of the most famous, if not the most famous, of the many Italian ceramic centers. It sits on top of a hill that emerges from the middle Tiber Valley just south of Perugia. Today most of the ceramic studios are found in the more modern area of Deruta, which is at the bottom of the hill. There were more than three hundred such studios in the late 1990’s, and there are slightly fewer nowadays.

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Gubbio has a long history; it was already occupied during the Bronze Age. Federico, the Duke of Montefeltro, immortalized in the famed portrait by Piero Della Francesca, was born in the town in the 15th century. He commissioned the building of the most notable of the town’s many exquisite buildings, the Palazzo del Consoli.

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The fact that each layer of the many Sicilian civilizations is still so visible and so vibrant in everything one sees and touches and experiences on the island makes it a truly unique place. History is everywhere, from the Phoenician shrines of Mothia to the Greek temples of Selinunte and Agrigento to the Norman architecture of the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale. The history of the island can be seen in the faces of the Sicilian people. It is to be savored in the various exotic foods and superb wines, and of course in the richness and colors of its ceramics.

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Santo Stefano di Camastra

The town of Santo Stefano di Camastra was founded in 1683 after a terrible landslide and flood destroyed the previous inland settlement of Casale di Santo Stefano. A local landlord Giuseppe Lanza Barresi, Duke of Camastra, supervised the construction of the new Baroque urban center, which is located on the Tyrrhenian coast of Sicily at the base of the Nebrodi mountain range. Half way between Messina and Palermo, it is surrounded by beautiful olive, orange, and lemon groves.

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Caltagirone is an ancient town that extends across the top of three hills in the middle of Sicily. Archeological research conducted in the area uncovered remains of Pre-Hellenic and Hellenic pottery. Especially noteworthy in this discovery is a particularly beautiful vase with red figures, now at the Museo Regionale della Ceramica, depicting a ceramist using a wheel turned by an apprentice all under the protective watch of Athena.

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Puglia, or Apulia, is the region of South Eastern Italy. It is bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the east and the Ionian Sea to the south and west. The coastal plains are entirely covered by beautiful orchards, vineyards, and olive groves. Apulia produces more olive oil than any other region in Italy. Chief among the many full-bodied wines of the region is the fantastic Primitivo made from primitive grapes that were first introduced to the region by the Greeks in the 8th century BC.

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About twenty miles southeast of Taranto is Grottaglie, which is the biggest center in Pugliese ceramics production. The town derives its name from the numerous grotte, or caves, in the region. It was in these caves that the local population took refuge from the Saracean invasions in the 10th century. Later, in the 13th century, the urban center of the town was established.

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