The Abruzzo region of Italy, a rich, diverse land that flows from the Apennines Mountains peaked with snow in winter to the clear blue Adriatic Sea is a visual treat to visitors. It has three national parks, one regional park, and 38 natural reserves where you can enjoy various activities every season—including skiing, hiking, and biking. However, there is something else which has earned the region the very fame it enjoys today; the beautiful ceramic pottery from Castelli, Abruzzo.
Castelli is one of Italy’s most admired ceramic traditions, and artifacts of these colorful wares adorn the collections of various international museums to include the Hermitage in St Petersburg Russia, the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Louvre in Paris.
The history of the pottery goes back to middle ages when the Benedictine monks of San Salvatore of Castelli in Abruzzo began teaching the locals how to make decorated pottery from the clay pulled from the surrounding mountains. But the art reached the peak of its glory by 1500s, when the production of maiolica, a ceramic bathed in a tin-based opaque white glaze and painted with bright colors started in large volume. It was the time when the beautiful bell-shaped vases, pot-bellied jugs, and flasks with large handles gained popularity and the ceramics of Castelli gained prominence as the luxury items even beyond Italian peninsula.
Even today, several dozen artisan enterprises flourish in Castelli, Abruzzo and they continue to make the centuries-old traditional colorful wares of Castelli. Visitors to the region like to get a glance of this beautiful artwork and carry back a piece of this master artwork as a memoir. The Ceramics Museum is also a great place to pay your visit, and if you wish to learn making Castelli ceramics yourself, check out the various school dedicated to this craft.
Another famous destination in the city which captures the traditional Castelli ceramic art in the original form is the Parish Church of San Giovanni Battista. Its doorway and the altar front is decorated with the colorful Castelli ceramic tiles which makes the place a must-visit destination for every tourist.
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