Throughout Italy there are towns that specialize in pottery. One of the most famous is Deruta in Umbria near Perugia. The great part of the pottery that you see in Orvieto, Perugia and Assisi is made in Deruta. It is a fascinating place to visit.
They have been making pottery here since Roman times. There are nearly 200 pottery kilns and there is a pottery high school that teaches the youth of the town to paint and produce pottery.
Apart from the pottery showrooms the old part of town which is perched on a hill that overlooks the valley of the Tiber and the valley of Umbria, is one of the most beautiful small towns in Italy and is worth a visit.
We were lucky to stop at the workshop of Ubaldo Grazia. This is the oldest of the potteries here and has been going since 1500. Ubaldo is the 25th in the family to run the business and has 2 grandchildren ready to follow on. Their work is famous throughout the world. They showed us through the museum of their work. Then they asked if we would like to see their workshop. We saw how they applied the patterns form a stencil and how the hand painting was done. It requires concentration and a very steady hand.
Finally we were lucky enough to meet Ubaldo himself. He is a charming man who is very conscious of his heritage and concerned about how to take it forward especially during this financial crisis. We chatted and found he loves to find traditional osterias in the area and we exchanged the names of our favourite eating spots. We bought a beautiful hand painted piece and left feeling we had been lucky to have a special experience.
They specialise in a design called raffaelesco which was inspired by the works of the artistRaffaele.
Ubaldo recommended the restaurant Il Borghetto in the old part of town as the perfect place to eat local food after shopping in Deruta